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US Calls on China to Honor Media Freedom After Beating of Japanese Journalists


The United States has called on China to honor its promise to allow reporters to operate freely before and during the Olympics, after two Japanese journalists were beaten and detained.

U.S. State Department spokesman, Gonzalo Gallegos said Monday's incident with the Japanese journalists runs counter to China's promise of media freedom. Spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos urged China Tuesday to expand freedom of the press and address domestic and international concerns about human rights.

Chinese officials earlier apologized to the two Japanese journalists, who were beaten by security forces in northwestern China while trying to cover a deadly attack on police.

Japanese officials say they will protest to Beijing over the incident. Despite their concerns, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda is set to attend the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympics in Beijing on Friday.

China's state-run Xinhua news agency says the Xinjiang provincial security chief, Liu Yaohua, apologized Tuesday for the incident and the damage to the journalists' equipment. But Xinhua also quoted Liu as saying the reporters violated China's rules by forcing their way into a military area.

A photographer for Japan's Chunichi newspaper and a Nippon Television reporter say they were roughed up and detained by police after trying to report on an attack that killed 16 police officers in the city of Kashgar Monday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.