Dutch reporter Sjoerd den Daas, a correspondent for NOS Journaal, was dragged away by Chinese authorities while reporting live from outside the Beijing Winter Olympics on Friday.
The shocking incident took place before the opening ceremony had concluded.
The reporter was on-air as a man wearing a red armband entered the shot. He attempted to continue his report, but was ultimately dragged away.
“Our correspondent [den Daas] was pulled away from the camera by security guards at 12:00 pm live in the NOS Journaal. Unfortunately, this is increasingly becoming a daily reality for journalists in China. He is fine and was able to finish his story a few minutes later,” NOS tweeted in Dutch.
Onze correspondent @sjoerddendaas werd om 12.00u live in het NOS Journaal door beveiligers voor de camera weggetrokken. Helaas is dit steeds vaker de dagelijkse realiteit voor journalisten in China. Hij is in orde en kon zijn verhaal gelukkig een paar minuten later afmaken pic.twitter.com/GLTZRlZV96
— NOS (@NOS) February 4, 2022
The red armband means that the man was a “Public Security Volunteer,” which the Daily Mail reports is a citizen-led neighborhood watch established to help police maintain order.
The Daily Beast reports that “it’s unclear exactly what den Daas did to upset the authorities, but it may have been that he was reporting from a dark street corner rather than from inside the glitzy Bird’s Nest stadium, where the Chinese government was staging an opening ceremony to show off China to the world.”
NOS editor-in-chief Marcel Gelauff told the Dutch Algemeen Dagblad that the incident was “a painful illustration” of how the foreign press is treated in China.
“Sjoerd has often told and shown that it is difficult as a journalist in China. There is a far-reaching tendency to curtail freedoms, and this may be even stronger because of corona,” said Gelauff.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China reported last month that reporters in China are being subjected to harsh intimidation tactics, including social media trolling, assaults, account hacking, visa denials, and lawsuits.
Chinese President Xi Jinping received a minute-long standing ovation during the opening ceremonies.
“Earlier in the day, Xi had given his backing to Putin over Ukraine – signing a joint document that condemned America’s influence in Europe, opposed the further expansion of NATO, while also criticising Washington’s ‘negative impact on peace and stability’ in the Asia-Pacific region – meaning the South China Sea and Taiwan,” the Daily Mail reported.