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Bystander of US embassy explosion forced into car and driven away

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China woman arrest
A
woman is taken away by the police after the explosion near the US
embassy on July 26, 2018 in Beijing, China.

Emmanuel Wong/Getty Images)

  • 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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