(NaturalNews) A German television crew was the target of a recent attack by workers at a Chinese fluoride production factory who thought the crew members were spies trying to steal company secrets. The U.K.'s Guardian reports that a team of armed Chinese police officers had to physically stop the mob of employees at Do-Fluoride Chemicals Co., Ltd., from potentially trying to kill the four-person film crew after first holding its members hostage for nine hours.
Do-Fluoride manufactures a number of different fluoride chemicals, including sodium fluoride, sodium fluosilicate, and industrial hydrofluoric acid, all of which are exported to the U.S. and forcibly added to public water supplies throughout the nation for the stated purpose of preventing tooth decay. Producing fluoride chemicals is extremely toxic; however, this is why the film crew was there trying to capture footage for a video documentary on pollution.
But when the film crew from ARD in Germany arrived at Do-Fluoride's main facility in Jiaozuo, fluoride workers went irate and began snatching the crew's video cameras and recording tape. After barricading the crew in a company cafeteria, many of the fluoride workers reportedly went outside the room and began chanting "kill the foreign spies," until local police finally arrived nine hours later to safely escort the film crew out of the building.
According to reports, senior officials at the Do-Fluoride factory were actually the ones responsible for provoking the workers to initiate the fight in the first place. They presumably did this by giving the workers false information about why the film crew had come to the facility, for the apparent purpose of trying to hide what was really taking place at the plant.
"We were considered spies who had tried to gather intelligence regarding Do-Fluoride's technology," said the film crew to reporters. "Factory officials appeared to have misinformed workers and agitated (them) against us."
Similar incidents involving violence and threats of murder against journalists have taken place in other parts of China in recent months as well. A reporter covering an environmental protest in Nantong back in July; for instance, says he was pushed to the ground and beaten by as many as 20 Chinese police officers after they stole his camera and recording equipment. Following the incident, the reporter's paper, Asahi Shimbun out of Japan, filed a formal complaint with the Chinese government. (http://ajw.asahi.com/article/asia/china/AJ201207290022)
"We cannot excuse it because it is extremely malicious, obstructive behavior against the reporter's legitimate news gathering activity," said Tsutomu Watanabe, the Tokyo-based international news editor for Asahi Shimbun. "We protest to the Chinese government and demand an apology and return of his camera and press ID."