Director-General condemns killing of Chinese reporter Xiao GuopengThe Director-General of UNESCO, Koïchiro Matsuura, today condemned the beating to death of reporter Xiao Guopeng by a police officer in the province of Guizhou on 18 July.
“I condemn the killing of Xiao Guopeng,” declared the Director-General. “I am encouraged to hear,” Mr Matsuura added, “that the alleged perpetrator of this heinous crime has been arrested and I trust that there will be a transparent investigation and trial to help prevent the recurrence of such events in the future.”
Reporters Without Borders says that Xiao Guopeng, 39, was beaten by police officer Pan Dengfeng outside the building of his newspaper, Anshun. The police officer is said to have continued hitting Mr Xiao when he was already on the ground, despite protests from a crowd of onlookers.
Mr Xiao was finally rushed to hospital where he died of cerebral haemorrhaging, according to Reporters Without Borders. He is the second journalist to die as a result of a police beating in China this year.
UNESCO is the only United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom. Article 1 of its Constitution requires the Organization to “further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for the human rights and fundamental freedoms which are affirmed for the peoples of the world, without distinction of race, sex, language or religion, by the Charter of the United Nations.” To realize this purpose the Organization is required to “collaborate in the work of advancing the mutual knowledge and understanding of peoples, through all means of mass communication and to that end recommend such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image…”