A media rights group is urging Chinese authorities to investigate the near-fatal beating of a journalist who has reported on the sensitive issue of forced relocations.
Reporters Without Borders says given the suspicious nature of the attack on Sun Hongjie in the western Xinjiang region, authorities must conduct an "impartial and exhaustive investigation."
The Paris-based group says Sun is in a deep coma due to injuries he received when he was attacked by several men late last week. He has been declared brain-dead.
Chinese police say six people have been arrested for attacking Sun, and are describing the beating as an ordinary criminal case not related to his work as a journalist.
But Reporters Without Borders says Sun's colleagues are refuting the police account, claiming he was working on a story about the demolition of housing to make way for new homes for officials. His co-workers note the attackers fled without taking Sun's money or belongings.
Sun, a reporter for the Northern Xinjiang Morning Post, has written a series of news stories exposing improper behavior by influential people.