Foreign reporters in China have it tough. While they try to stay out of trouble, their very profession puts them in harm’s way. It could be worse: They could be local reporters. The Toronto Star’s Asia Bureau reporter Bill Schiller was detained and interrogated by undercover police in Beijing. He was eventually released. At least they did not beat the crap out of him. They could have, and there would be nothing he could do about it before, during or after. From a Canadian standpoint, being detained by Beijing police was quite illegal, by Chinese law, and should not have occurred. Such incidents with foreign reporters are quite common. The message to Mr. Schiller, from a Chinese government perspective is as follows: You are in China and you play by our rules. You were covering an event that you should not have. We can detain you, search through your things and confiscate whatever we wish. Being a reporter offers you absolutely no protection from the police. You were committing an illegal act and you signed a document admitting this. You admitted guilt, so now we have the legal right to not only detain you but to deport you from China for your crime. We own you.
China's 60 mile traffic jam of coal trucks lasted 10 days.
Contrary to popular belief, China is still Communist. There has been no change of political will, only the naive belief of foreigners that as China becomes wealthier that China will abide by its own rules of law. This is not the case, as the Toronto Star’s Asia correspondent Bill Schiller, found out. He traveled a little outside Beijing into the countryside only 3 hours train ride away, only to find out that things are run differently in the countryside. Reporters do get hassled and told in uncertain terms to leave.