Communist goons drag away a Dutch reporter while he's broadcasting LIVE on air

Communist goons drag away a Dutch reporter while he’s broadcasting LIVE on air

A Dutch reporter covering the Beijing Winter Olympics was captured being dragged away by Chinese security live on air, before the opening ceremony could even finish.

Sjoerd den Daas, a correspondent for NOS Journaal, was covering the long-awaited opening of games in China when a man wearing a red armband entered the frame and grabbed the journalist by the shoulders.

Mr den Daas attempted to continue his broadcast but was pulled away, in an example of one of China’s latest tactics at intimidating foreign reporters.

The interruption came from a man wearing a black jacket and a red band around the sleeve which appears to distinguish him a ‘Public Security Volunteer’, a citizen-led neighbourhood watch established to help police maintain order.

It is unclear what Mr den Daas was doing prompt intervention, but NOS later tweeted that he was able to continue the report minutes later. 

However observers suspect that the media handlers stepped in because den Haas was filming in an unphotogenic location, on a badly lit street rather than the glamorous Bird’s Nest stadium. 

The episode will only serve to add the tarnished image other the Chinese games, with many countries’ leaders boycotting them over Beijing’s alleged genocide in Xinjiang. 

Onze correspondent @sjoerddendaas werd om 12.00u live in het NOS Journaal door beveiligers voor de camera weggetrokken. Helaas is dit steeds vaker de dagelijkse realiteit voor journalisten in China. Hij is in orde en kon zijn verhaal gelukkig een paar minuten later afmaken pic.twitter.com/GLTZRlZV96

— NOS (@NOS) February 4, 2022 Sjoerd den Daas was reporting on the Olympics Mr den Daas attempted to continue his broadcast but was pulled away by a man

Sjoerd den Daas, a Dutch reporter covering the Beijing Winter Olympics was captured being dragged away by Chinese Communist security live on air

The interruption came from a man wearing a black jacket and a red band around the sleeve which appears to distinguish him a 'Public Security Volunteer'

The interruption came from a man wearing a black jacket and a red band around the sleeve which appears to distinguish him a ‘Public Security Volunteer’

The publication's post said: 'Our correspondent was pulled away from the camera by security guards at 12:00 pm live in the NOS Journaal'

The publication’s post said: ‘Our correspondent was pulled away from the camera by security guards at 12:00 pm live in the NOS Journaal’

Fireworks explode over the Bird Nest stadium in Beijing as the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics comes to a close

Fireworks explode over the Bird Nest stadium in Beijing as the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympics comes to a close

 

The publication’s post said: ‘Our correspondent was pulled away from the camera by security guards at 12:00 pm live in the NOS Journaal.

‘Unfortunately, this is increasingly becoming a daily reality for journalists in China. He is fine and was able to finish his story a few minutes later.’

According to the latest Media Freedoms report by the The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) from last month, foreign journalists are ‘facing unprecedented hurdles’ due to the ‘government’s efforts to block and discredit independent reporting’.

It is unclear what Mr den Daas was doing prompt intervention, but NOS later tweeted that he was able to continue the report minutes later

It is unclear what Mr den Daas was doing prompt intervention, but NOS later tweeted that he was able to continue the report minutes later

Mr den Daas attempted to continue his broadcast but was pulled by the man in what has been called China's latest tactic at intimidating foreign reporters

Mr den Daas attempted to continue his broadcast but was pulled by the man in what has been called China’s latest tactic at intimidating foreign reporters

‘State-backed’ attacks on foreign journalists such as online trolling campaigns and spates of lawsuit threats are also outlined in the report.  

‘Such campaigns have fostered a growing feeling among the Chinese public that foreign media are the enemy and directly encourage offline violence and harassment of journalists in the field,’ it added.

At today’s opening ceremony, Chinese president Xi Jinping received a standing ovation as he arrived to watch some 3,000 performers take part, which also featured People’s Liberation Army soldiers hoisting the country’s flag as the national anthem played.

Earlier in the day, Xi had given his backing to Putin over Ukraine – signing a joint document that condemned America’s influence in Europe, opposed the further expansion of NATO, while also criticising Washington’s ‘negative impact on peace and stability’ in the Asia-Pacific region – meaning the South China Sea and Taiwan.

Meanwhile, attendees have described ‘dystopian’ scenes from the Olympic village, include barmen in PPE mixing cocktails and robots spraying clouds of disinfectant into the air as China attempts to host a Covid-free Games.

Video shot inside the Nanshanli Condotel on Thursday reveal journalists and Olympic personnel in light-touch masks mixing with hotel staff wearing hazmat suits due to fears the Games could become a super-spreader event.

A Reuters reporter inside the hotel described the atmosphere as ‘dystopian’, saying the air smells like disinfectant due to the number of times surfaces are sprayed, while all food service arrives in hotel rooms plastic-wrapped.

China has agreed to waive its typically-stringent border rules for around 11,000 guests and athletes attending the Olympics, allowing them into the country with no quarantine provided they are fully vaccinated.

But throughout the event – which kicks off today and lasts until February 20 – they will be confined inside a Covid ‘closed loop’ which is designed to almost totally cut them off from the outside world to stop the virus spreading.

A bartender inside a hotel in Zhangjiakou - one of three cities hosting the winter Olympics - mixes cocktails while dressed in full PPE

A bartender inside a hotel in Zhangjiakou – one of three cities hosting the winter Olympics – mixes cocktails while dressed in full PPE

A robot trundles through communal areas of one Beijing hotel, spraying the air with disinfectant which guests said left a noticeable smell

A robot trundles through communal areas of one Beijing hotel, spraying the air with disinfectant which guests said left a noticeable smell

Some 20,000 local volunteers helping to stage the games will also be isolated. 

The ‘loop’ system is spread across three competition zones located 110 miles apart – in Beijing, nearby Yanqing, and Zhangjiakou, which is slightly further afield.

Athletes, their teams, and foreign journalists will stay in hotels and the Athlete’s Village for the duration of the games – with only the PPE-clad staff allowed inside.

Around 70 hotels are part of the system, with those in downtown Beijing literally fenced off and guarded by police to stop unauthorised people getting inside.

In order to get between the hotels, conference centres and venues that will be used for the Olympic events, an elaborate transport system has been designed.

High speed trains linking the three competition zones will be segregated to ensure athletes and the wider public don’t mix, while 4,000 buses have been brought in for the sole purpose of carrying guests.

These have been given specially dedicated lanes on the highways linking the competition zones – with locals facing fines if they stray into them.

At the venues, Games participants will be physically separated from the wider public with dedicated entrances, exits, and viewing areas.

A chef inside one of the 'closed loop' hotels prepares breakfast for guests while dressed in full PPE including gloves and a face shield

A chef inside one of the ‘closed loop’ hotels prepares breakfast for guests while dressed in full PPE including gloves and a face shield

Everyone inside the 'closed loop', including 11,000 foreigners and 20,000 locals, will need to be tested daily for Covid - with anyone who is infected removed

Everyone inside the ‘closed loop’, including 11,000 foreigners and 20,000 locals, will need to be tested daily for Covid – with anyone who is infected removed

Reception staff at one of the Beijing hotels dressed in a face shield and mask stands behind a plastic shield to protect against Covid

Reception staff at one of the Beijing hotels dressed in a face shield and mask stands behind a plastic shield to protect against Covid

Any athletes who arrived without first being vaccinated were forced to undergo 21-day isolation, while any who tested positive on arrival were also forced to isolate.

The system was enough to break one Belgian athlete – skeleton racer Kim Meylemans – who was forced into isolation after a positive test.

Three days of isolation in Beijing followed by two negative tests led her to believe she was being freed to join the other athletes, but she was instead shipped to another facility where she was told she would have to spend another seven days.

Meylemans then put out a tearful plea on Instagram saying she was not sure how much more she could take, before the International Olympic Committee intervened.

The 25-year-old is now back in the Olympic Village, albeit in an isolation wing. 

China has maintained a ‘zero COVID’ strategy throughout the global pandemic, aggressively isolating and tracing coronavirus cases to keep its official exposure low.

Mainland China has reported 106,202 infections and 4,636 coronavirus-related deaths since the onset of the pandemic, though doubts have been raised about the reliability of that data.

Kim Meylemans Kim Meylemans

The strict quarantine system has already proved too much for Belgian  skeleton racer Kim Meylemans, who broke down in tears after being isolated because of a positive test

Olympics organisers said on Wednesday they had recorded 32 COVID-19 cases in the previous 24 hours, 15 of them new airport arrivals. 

Brian McCloskey, chair of the Beijing 2022 medical expert panel, said he expected the daily number to drop once the number of participants arriving falls.

Covid is not the only problem that China is contending with as it gets the Olympics underway, with dozens of countries staging a diplomatic boycott of the event due to concerns about the country’s human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims.

India became the latest nation to announce it would not send officials to observe the event on Friday, because a Chinese soldier involved in clashes with its armed forces had taken part in the torch relay.

Delhi said its top envoy in Beijing will not attend the opening ceremony after Beijing ‘politicised’ the events by featuring the solider.

‘It is regrettable that the Chinese side has chosen to politicise an event like the Olympics,’ Arindam Bagchi, spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, said. 

India joins the USA, Canada, the UK and Australia in having announced a boycott.

A guard is seen behind fences delineating the closed-loop bubble' set up by China as a preventative measure against Covid

A guard is seen behind fences delineating the closed-loop bubble’ set up by China as a preventative measure against Covid

Passengers within the closed loop system on board the bullet train heading from Beijing's Qinghe railway station to Taizicheng

Passengers within the closed loop system on board the bullet train heading from Beijing’s Qinghe railway station to Taizicheng

Peoples Liberation Army soldiers march along the perimeter of the closed loop system at the Big Air Shougang stadium ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics

Peoples Liberation Army soldiers march along the perimeter of the closed loop system at the Big Air Shougang stadium ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics

Athletes from those countries will still compete in the Games, but officials will not attend any of the ceremonies.

Meanwhile US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned American athletes attending the Games not to speak out over China’s human rights record while in the country to avoid incurring Beijing’s wrath.

‘Do not risk incurring the anger of the Chinese government because they are ruthless,’ Pelosi said. 

Sarah Hirshland, CEO of the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee, said the athletes have been briefed – some of them multiple times – about laws and customs in China that could land them in hot water.

She said they had been advised to ‘make their own choices’ when it comes to protesting or demonstrating on Chinese soil.

‘We want to make sure that the athletes understand the IOC guidelines and the rules of the games that they’re signing up for in that environment,’ Hirshland said. 

A security personnel stands next to a fence at a checkpoint to enter the closed-loop bubble - created as a preventative measure against Covid

A security personnel stands next to a fence at a checkpoint to enter the closed-loop bubble – created as a preventative measure against Covid

Guests make their way inside Beijing's national sports stadium ahead of the Opening Ceremony, which will take place today

Guests make their way inside Beijing’s national sports stadium ahead of the Opening Ceremony, which will take place today

President Xi Jinping received a minute-long standing ovation as he arrived in Beijing's Bird's Nest stadium to watch the Opening Ceremony on Friday

President Xi Jinping received a minute-long standing ovation as he arrived in Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium to watch the Opening Ceremony on Friday

Vladimir Putin had his eyes closed and hands folded as Ukraine's athletes arrived at the Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony in Beijing today, seemingly pretending to be asleep

Vladimir Putin had his eyes closed and hands folded as Ukraine’s athletes arrived at the Winter Olympic Opening Ceremony in Beijing today, seemingly pretending to be asleep

There are fears that Putin is about to invade Ukraine (athletes pictured entering the stadium), sparking a bloody war and the most-serious standoff between East and West since the Cold War

There are fears that Putin is about to invade Ukraine (athletes pictured entering the stadium), sparking a bloody war and the most-serious standoff between East and West since the Cold War

Vladimir Putin snubbed Ukraine’s athletes as he appeared to take a nap as they arrived at the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony in Beijing today, a moment of political drama as the threat of war hung heavy over the Games.

The Russian strongman – who attended despite Russia being officially banned due to doping – sat with his arms folded and eyes closed for several seconds on TV feeds as Ukraine’s athletes processed into the Bird’s Nest stadium on Friday. It comes amid fears he is about to invade their home country, sparking the worst standoff with the West since the Cold War.

Russia does have athletes at the Games, but they are forced to compete as the ‘Russian Olympic Committee’ and cannot use the country’s flag on their uniforms or play the national anthem when they win. 

Separately, a Russian Olympic official was filmed arguing with a Ukrainian official shortly before the ceremony took place – appearing to brand him a ‘loser’ and a ‘b*****d’ despite Olympic organisers insisting the Games would symbolise peace and togetherness in an increasingly divided world.

Meanwhile Xi Jinping received a standing ovation as he arrived to watch some 3,000 performers take part in the ceremony, which also featured frog-marching People’s Liberation Army soldiers hoisting the country’s flag as the national anthem played.

Earlier in the day, Xi had given his backing to Putin over Ukraine – signing a joint document that condemned America’s influence in Europe, opposed the further expansion of NATO, while also criticising Washington’s ‘negative impact on peace and stability’ in the Asia-Pacific region – meaning the South China Sea and Taiwan. 

Another moment of tension came as Taiwan’s athletes entered the stadium as ‘Chinese Taipei’. Taiwan views itself as a self-governing nation, but Beijing views it as a breakaway province and has threatening to ‘reunify’ it by force. The team was set to boycott the games over their team name, but were told by organisers they had to attend. 

Putin was one of just a handful of foreign dignitaries to attend the events after most Western leaders boycotted over China’s human rights record and persecutions of Uighur Muslims in eastern Xinjiang province.  

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