Smile next time if you're a foreign affairs cop
The plain-clothed Foreign Affairs cops in Qinhuangdao, the city where the Great Wall crumbles into the polluted Bohai Bay, erased this photo from the Kyodo News Beijing bureau photographer's camera in late June.
The cops pictured here initially let two writers and the shooter take photos of their interrogation because they were doing the same -- witness the video camera in the one guy's hand. Fair's fair, they decided, and they had said the Kyodo crew wasn't wanted for any crimes. They just held the three guys for five hours at the city Foreign Affairs Office to ask what they knew about five Chinese citizens who they'd just detained in the media crew's presence, detained of course for fixing to give Kyodo an interview about corruption at two bankrupted military factories.
It was a classic grade-B HBO moment, when they caught the reporters and photographer, knocking on their hourly-rate hotel room door, yelling "police!" then storming into the room asking who was who and why everyone was there. About 25 more cops took the two Kyodo drivers, both Chinese citizens, to another cop shop after grabbing them by the arms and taking their phones away. Cops to drivers: Why are you working for the "little Japanese"?
Were the reporters and shooter detained? Caught? No, cop-interrogator Wang Yiming said. No, we just need the reporters to rat out, I mean tell us what the other five were talking about in the hotel room. So I could go now, one reporter asked half way through his grilling. The cop didn't answer. He told the reporter later he had a bad attitude for not revealing what was said in the hotel room during the five minutes before his squad broke in. The reporter indicated to the cop that good attitudes could also be expressed by letting non-suspects out of custody in less than five hours.
The posse later indicated that although the Kyodo crew was allowed to take photos in the questioning room, Kyodo wasn't allowed to take them out. So they were all erased, and the Foreign Affairs vice director asked if their Kyodo captives wanted to do dinner, which they didn't.
Cops in the photo here are examining a page from a notebook of the writers. He had taken a page of notes in the hotel room. He never saw the page again. Luckily the shooter had taken a shot of the notes themselves along with the photo shown here. In Beijing the next day, the shooter popped his camera card into a slot somewhere in his labyrinthine computerized photo lab and out popped all the photos he took.
The notes were used to write a story. Photos not unlike the one here went on the wire.