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International advocacy groups have called for an investigation into the death of a Chinese journalist. He was brutally beaten by gang of six men. He had been researching a sensitive forced demolition case in northwest China.
This is Sun Hongjie, a Chinese journalist. He died on Tuesday after being beaten by six men. Some say the attack was related to his investigative reporting.
Sun worked for the Northern Xinjiang Morning Post in China's far west. A colleague at that newspaper told international media that Sun was savagely beaten at a construction site. He was left brain dead, and died ten days later.
A statement by the local Public Security Bureau claimed the attack was over a personal dispute with someone over the Internet. But some fellow journalists believe the beating may have been linked to a story he was doing. The Global Times said he was working on a story about how a dairy factory was being torn down to make way for homes for Chinese officials.
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has called for more investigation.
[Bob Dietz, Asia Program Coordinator, Committee to Protect Journalists]:
"Our greatest concern in some cases is that the government is putting out an explanation for his death which implies he wasn't killed for his work as a reporter but instead got into an online dispute with someone. We're not at all convinced of that, and the people with whom we've spoken to in Xinjiang have also been very skeptical about that report."
Although the killing of journalists is rare in China, it is somewhat more common for journalists to be threatened or assaulted.