Bystanders believed to be plainclothes police officers interrupted and harassed a CNN journalist reporting on the 30th Tiananmen Square Anniversary in Beijing earlier this week.
In a now-viral clip, a man riding a bike can be seen cutting Matt Rivers off as he talks about the pro-democracy protests, which culminated in a government-authorized massacre.
The man, dressed in a white shirt and black pants, repeatedly waves his arm to shoo the camera away.
“We’re not sure who this gentleman is here, plainclothes police officer more than likely,” Rivers says.
Shortly, more Chinese men appear at the scene.
“So what’s happening here is that uniformed police officers don’t wanna be captured on camera pushing us away, then they bring in people like this who clearly are working for security forces in some way, shape or form, but they just don’t want us to be here.”
The anniversary, which took place on Tuesday, saw the Chinese government impose an information lockdown — a move to suppress any commemoration of the demonstrations.
According to Bloomberg, social networking services such as WeChat and Weibo prevented users from changing profile pictures and other personal information, while video-streaming platform Bilibili suspended real-time comments and other features for “technical upgrades.”
Meanwhile, censors delayed and blocked outgoing messages in several cases, with social media users complaining of slow internet speeds particularly when using virtual private networks (VPNs).
Aside from technological controls, the government also deployed extra checkpoints and street closures, the Associated Press reported.
Rivers, who took the incident to Twitter, said that the men had explained cutting the broadcast off for “safety issues.”
“Today we were live from Muxidi, a place where lots of people were killed on June 4th, 1989 during the #TiananmenSquareMassacre. The police forced us off the air. When I asked why, they said there were ‘safety issues.’ The plain clothes men you see likely work for state security.”
Today we were live from Muxidi, a place where lots of people were killed on June 4th, 1989 during the #TiananmenSquareMassacre. The police forced us off the air. When I asked why, they said there were “safety issues.” The plain clothes men you see likely work for state security. pic.twitter.com/9E1Xe4EkNY
— Matt Rivers (@MattRiversCNN) June 4, 2019
The video has received over 262,000 views since its posting, with many supporting Rivers and slamming the Chinese government.
Be careful! Brave guy . Thanks very much 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
— 上進哥2✊✊✊ (@Jinamerican) June 4, 2019
Amazing that after all these years they still shut down any talk of what *the entire world* knows they did
— Cassandra Noel ☾ (@CNDCapeCod) June 4, 2019
They scare the truth.
— tokusennyuu (@tokusennyuu1) June 4, 2019
— Robert Brodey (@RobertBrodey) June 4, 2019
This is gross, the Chinese government has to take credit for the bloodshed they caused. They have to apologize. Thousands of people lost their lives just for wanting basic human rights like freedom of speech. Really this can’t continue as it is right now
— J💜 (@Nea99457304) June 4, 2019
Thank you so much for bringing me the latest street view of #Muxidi #木樨地 where my home is😭 where I may never be able to go back. #TwitterMassacre and many threats I’ve received sent me a message: if I go back, chances are, I will be end of being #LiuXiaobo…….
— 律政悟空IForYou (@pandavoice007) June 4, 2019
You are so brave! Thank you 🙏
— 亭台樓閣2 (@rEf0d0KL3lIxziC) June 4, 2019
— 艾曼德娃 (@e01mans09d) June 4, 2019
Thank you for what you have done, matt.
— 海丰小哥 (@hailufeng) June 5, 2019
Thank you for what you have done ,be careful
— 握拳而立 (@freebird939) June 5, 2019
Images via YouTube / CNN