The BBC reported today — I am still trying to find a good link for the story — that a team of their reporters were detained in Shaanxi province as they tried to follow up on the lead smelter/town poisoning story.
The lead reporter said once he and his team entered a town they were stopped and told a local “emergency decree” required them to submit their credentials to local authorities. The journalists were put in a local hotel until their bone fides could be verified.
The reporters were later released but told to leave town. It seems there was no local decree. The local party leaders just wanted to stop the reporters from covering the health and environment disaster in the area.
The reporters were followed until they left town to ensure they did not talk to anyone.
Unfortunately for the party leadership, the reporters were able to talk to some local people by mobile phone.
This has got to be driving the party cadres crazy. Land line phones can be cut and tapped. Mobile phones are much more difficult to control. And once people can more easily talk to each other, the censors loose.