A German television crew was viciously attacked by thugs after a car chase on a highway in a city near Beijing, the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China (FCCC) has said in a statement.
The thugs though unidentified were reportedly linked to local authorities of Hebei where the journalists were on assignment, the statement said.
The crew belonged to ARD television and was reporting on urbanisation in the city of Sanhe, located some 50km east of Beijing.
The thugs attacked the journalists' car with baseball bats, shattering the windscreen. The reporters and their colleagues narrowly escaped serious injury, FCCC said.
The FCCC has called on the authorities to investigate this incident and to punish those responsible for such a gross violation of the ARD crew's professional journalistic rights
"ARD correspondent Christine Adelhardt, accompanied by two German colleagues and two Chinese staff, had been filming in the village of Da Yan Ge Zhuang for a report on urbanisation, one of the incoming Chinese government's major challenges and a process that has often provoked disputes over land ownership," the FCCC statement said.
"We were filming the village square, where you could see old style farmers' houses next to a newly-built mansion behind a wall and high-rise buildings in the background," said Adelhardt, when a car drew up nearby them, filming the TV crew.
The statement added that when the crew left, two cars, later joined by at least two others, gave chase, trying to force the Germans' minivan off the road and to deliberately cause a collision. They forced the ARD driver to stop at one point, whereupon five or six men surrounded the car, attempted to get in, and hammered on the windows with their fists.
"The crew got away, but were pursued, forced off the road and onto the sidewalk, rammed, and made to stop. Two men from the pursuing vehicles attacked the minivan with baseball bats, shattering its windscreen, before the ARD driver was able to get away again by bulldozing his way past a car parked in front of the ARD van," the statement said.