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Filming in China: A stark warning

The adventures of Mark chinaStone, a correspondent for UK broadcaster Sky News, recently highlighted the need of adhering to foreign rules and regulations when filming abroad.

While broadcasting live in Beijing's Tiananmen Square, Stone was detained by Chinese police – leaving his camera rolling, the network’s viewers witnessed his arrest and subsequent treatment.

In China, filming at sensitive places (or whenever a threat is perceived by authorities) is only allowed when a permit has been obtained. This permit should be carried with you at all times.

Stone and his cameraman, Andy Portch, did have a permit though, which granted them permission to film on the square. Nonetheless a police officer asked them to stop filming while they were live on air.
So, why were they detained?

Alongside the passes, which are evidence of the permission granted, reporters and crew also need to carry their passports with them at all times – Stone didn’t.

Police detained the team for four hours because Stone was not carrying his passport and they were not displaying their passes correctly.
Still live on air while in the back of the police van, Stone explained to his viewers: "This is just a little insight really into the way reporting works in China. Most of the time things are fine but then every now and then this happens.

"The police have been entirely civil with us, but they are detaining us nonetheless."

Though this is - without a doubt - true, the event probably could have been prevented if the team had adhered to the rules.

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