Washington, D.C. - Two Voice of America Mandarin Service correspondents, Yibing Feng, a U.S. citizen and full time VOA staffer, and his Chinese assistant were detained by Chinese authorities this evening while conducting an interview. The two were taken in Jinan, Shandong province while interviewing Professor Wenguang Sun,84.
“The two VOA correspondents should be released immediately,” said VOA Director Amanda Bennett. “It is outrageous that two journalists have been detained for nothing more than doing their jobs.”
Today's actions by Chinese officials follow the events of two weeks ago when Professor Sun was detained during a live telephone interview with VOA from his home. He reported to the VOA anchor that local police had forcibly entered his residence and demanded he end the interview. When Professor Sun refused, the phone line went dead on live television.
The retired Chinese professor was allowed to return home under strict security on Monday.
VOA attempted to interview the professor upon his return, and Professor Sun was speaking to Feng behind a closed door in the hallway of his building. Five or six plain clothes and uniformed police confronted the VOA reporter in the hallway and attempted several times to disrupt the interview. They then ordered Feng, a U.S. citizen and Virginia resident, and his Chinese assistant to leave the building.
They complied but continued to be followed by police. They were taken to a security office in the building where they were detained and are still believed to be in police custody.
Their whereabouts are currently unknown.
As a trusted source of news around the world, the Voice of America offers its audience members access to thought leaders such as Professor Sun, who regularly speaks publicly about Chinese human rights and domestic and foreign policy issues in China.
As stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.