Chinese journalist death 'must be investigated'


Media rights groups are calling for a thorough investigation into the death of a Chinese journalist this week.

The investigative journalist, Sun Hongjie, was attacked by a gang of men in disputed circumstances ten days ago.

Based in Xinjiang in western China, he died from his injuries in what police say was a personal dispute.

Mr Sun's colleagues say he was investigating forced demolitions, a subject likely to have led him into conflict with officials.

"Until there is a full, independent investigation, the official explanation of Sun Hongjie's brutal death must be treated with a great deal of skepticism," said Bob Dietz, Asia programme coordinator for the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists.

Mr Sun was a senior reporter at the Northern Xinjiang Morning Post.

He died at a hospital in the city of Kuitun 10 days after he was beaten by six men at a construction site, a colleague told reporters.

Police have detained six people for alleged involvement in the fight.

The Global Times newspaper said one of Mr Sun's recent reports suggested a township government in Kuitun forced the demolition of a dairy company's building to make space for government officials' homes.

Several Chinese internet postings continue to cast doubt on the official version of the events behind Mr Sun's death.

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