“This is a new one,” said Sky News correspondent Mark Stone as he was bundled unceremoniously into the back of a Chinese police van in Tiananmen Square.
The reporter had been filming a piece covering the transition of the Chinese leadership when he was interrupted by Beijing’s thin blue line.
The tale became even more bizarre later when Sky went live to its reporter in the back of the van, being driven to a police station apparently in Beijing’s Forbidden City. The Sky cameras kept rolling as a woman working with the police filled them on her camera phone.
Stone was later told to stop filming by another official who seemed as baffled as the reporter himself as to why the arrest had been made.
Stone speculated that his arrest was prompted by a mention in his report of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. He repeatedly made clear that officials had been “entirely civil” but requests to find out why he had been arrested fell on deaf ears.
“This is a classic example of the way things seem to work sometimes in China,” he told viewers as a polite but firm Chinese official finally brought the broadcast to an end.