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May 12, 2012

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Demolition photos lead to beating

AN award-winning Shanghai news photographer was beaten up yesterday when he was taking pictures at a demolition site in downtown Huangpu District, police said yesterday.

Two workers from the Tonghai construction company, surnamed Ding and Wang, were detained and fined for beating the photographer and two other Shanghai journalists at the site, police said.

The three journalists, Yong He, Yin Liqin and Zhao Lirong, were involved in a dispute with the builder and were beaten. One camera was damaged during the dispute, police said.

But police did not disclose how many people were involved in the fracas. Nearby residents said they saw more than 50 workers surround the journalists.

Yong He, 56, is with Xinmin Evening News, Shanghai's biggest newspaper, and is famous for his pictures reflecting social problems and the city's changes. He was just awarded China's top news photo award.

Online pictures showed Yong was surrounded by a group of people, including demolition officials and workers, and sitting on debris, covered with dust and with a 6-centimeter, bloody wound on his knee.

He also had cuts and bruises on his back, legs and elbows.

Yong said he went to the demolition site just to document the rapid development of the city and the urbanization process.

However, at 2:30pm, three female demolition officials rushed up to him, saying, "We have the right to stop you." Another two hit the photographer with an umbrella.

"I told them I had the right to take pictures here," Yong told Shanghai Daily.

Several minutes later, a group of workers, demolition officials and guards at the site showed up and encircled him. About 20 of them knocked him to the ground, Yong said. The two other photographers, Yin and Zhao, were surrounded by other workers who pressed them against a wall.

"They were beaten up hard," said a woman who lives in the area to be demolished.

"It's not the first time they use violence," said the woman, talking of demolition and compensation disputes in the area.

Some of the residents are still staying at their run-down homes since they did not accept a compensation offer from the demolition company, Shanghai Xinmao, and the developer, the Oceanwide Estate.


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