Pushed away from Xu Zhiyong trial

  • 22 January 2014
Media captionBBC reporter Martin Patience is moved on by 'undercover thugs' at China trial

Most foreign journalists in China will have covered a trial during their time in the country.

In sensitive cases there will be a large security presence, with police sealing off the courthouse.

You always have to show your journalist ID card and then are normally put in a holding pen along with other journalists. The area is guarded by the police.

But at today's trial of Xu Zhiyong that did not happen.

The closest we could get was about 100m (330ft) from the building before we were harassed.

Western diplomats weren't allowed to enter the courtroom to hear the proceedings.

As one man on the street said to me, all the security shows "the authorities are weak rather than strong. They're really worried about this."

China says that it wants to promote the rule of law but as you can see from the video it's got a funny way of going about it.

In particular, take note of the plain-clothed thugs in the video pushing us up the street. I still have no idea who they were.

When you ask the authorities about such incidents they sometimes respond by saying they are "angry citizens".