An undercover journalist working for the Chinese state propaganda outlet Global Times has been awarded $14,000 for his “outstanding performance” covering the protests, the outlet’s editor-in-chief announced on Sunday.
Fu Guohao claimed to have been seized, kicked, and beaten with umbrellas by demonstrators attending a recent pro-democracy demonstration after they realized he was an undercover reporter. After refusing to show them his press credentials, protesters grabbed his bag and found a T-shirt with the slogan, “I love HK police.”
“Fu Guohao and our other colleagues who have shown outstanding performance in the reporting of Hong Kong [protests] have been awarded. Fu has received the highest award of 100,000 yuan,” Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin wrote on Weibo, China’s state-run equivalent of Twitter.
Speaking at an awards ceremony Sunday, Hu said that Fu had “not been earning much” from his job at the Global Times and had been unable to buy a property in Beijing.
“We jokingly said we hoped the 100,000 yuan would bring him good luck, and that he can buy a flat and be married one day,” said Hu.
The incident took place last month, with the Global Times denouncing the attack as an “act of terrorism” and an attack on freedom of the press, despite China having one of the world’s worst records for freedom of expression.
“The whole newsroom of the Global Times was outraged by rioters treating our reporter in such an inhumane way and strongly condemned the act, which could be considered terrorism,” the outlet wrote in an editorial at the time.
We also looked into media reports on the brutality of the mobs and found that some Hong Kong media and Western journalists tried to find an excuse for the brutal act
It’s now become a shame for Hong Kong where these cruel, cold-blooded rioters will attack a defenseless journalist from the mainland, and it is much more wretched for all those Hong Kong media and foreign reporters, who honor freedom of press, to defend such terror-like acts. If they are not accomplices, tell us, what are they?
Hong Kong has been affected by political and civil unrest since early June, when pro-democracy demonstrators began taking to the streets to oppose an extradition bill that would have permitted criminal suspects to be sent to China for trial.
The bill has since been shelved by Hong Kong CEO Carrie Lam, although the protests have since merged into wider demonstrations against police brutality, with participants demanding the release of over 1,000 detainees.
The movement is also part of a broader pushback against Beijing’s increasing interference in the region’s internal affairs, undermining the principle of “one country, two systems” that was agreed on following the handover from the British Empire in 1997.