'I do not know that man. I didn't do anything!': A woman who tried to share footage of the explosion near Beijing’s US Embassy was forced into a car and driven away

Emmanuel Wong/Getty Images)A woman is taken away by the police after the explosion near the US embassy on July 26, 2018 in Beijing, China.
  • A woman who tried to share photos and videos of the explosion outside Beijing’s US embassy with media was forcibly removed and driven away screaming.
  • The woman was wrangled by plainclothes men who said they were dealing with a “family matter,” but the woman yelled, “I do not know that man. I didn’t do anything! I was just a bystander!”
  • Censorship of controversial thoughts and political incidents is common in China, as the government tries to maintain the stability and power of the Communist Party.
  • The woman’s videos seemed to be blocked from being sent before her disappearance, and within hours the explosion had been censored online.

Men dressed in plainclothes grabbed a woman who tried to share footage of an explosion outside Beijing’s US Embassy on Thursday, forced her into a car, and drove her away as she screamed.

An explosion occurred near the US Embassy as a device was reportedly detonated; media descended on the scene to verify reports. Citizens began trying to share images and videos with journalists on the ground but the woman, who was reportedly trying to share footage a friend had given to her, was soon dragged away.

According to footage from Becky Davis, Agence France-Presse’s China correspondent, the woman was taken across the street and into a waiting car.

“Take her into the hotel,” the man in the green shirt said, according to Davis’ translation.

“Get out of here quick. Dad’s waiting for you at home,” he said, before yelling “This is a family matter!”

But according to Davis the woman screams “I do not know that man. I didn’t do anything! I was just a bystander!”

While it’s unclear who exactly the men were and why they took the woman, Davis said it seems common for police in plainclothes to act as family members, likely in an attempt to draw less attention. After the incident Davis asked a police officer what the woman did wrong and where she had been taken.

“I’m enforcing the law,” the man said.

China is infamous for its internet censorship that seeks to suppress ideas and content that could undermine the authority and stability of the Chinese Communist Party. This frequently extends into the real world with activists and ordinary citizens arrested or “disappeared” for sharing controversial content online or even just in text messages with friends.

Even before she was taken, the woman had successfully shared images with journalists on WeChat, but despite multiple attempts her videos were never received.

Within a few hours all posts about Thursday’s explosion, including one hashtag that had received 1 million views, had reportedly been censored on Weibo. Later, media outlets’ coverage was un-censored but all ordinary user content including footage was still censored.

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