A South China Morning Post reporter was among five Hong Kong journalists detained and questioned by local authorities in Wukan, Guangdong province, on Wednesday night.
The journalists had been interviewing villagers involved in a violent protest that saw tear gas and rubber bullets fired at residents.
The Post is highly concerned about the incident and condemns the detention of journalists.
The reporter was released around 2am on Thursday morning and returned to Hong Kong unharmed.
Our reporter and two other Hong Kong journalists from another publication were invited by a resident to a villager’s house for an interview on Wednesday.
Watch: Wukan in police lockdown after clashes
Around 9.30pm, two dozen unidentified men broke into the house and pushed the Post reporter to the ground, accusing him and others of stealing.
The owner of the house was also subdued by the assailants, who did not show any documentation throughout the incident.
The other two Hong Kong journalists later told the Post reporter that one of them was punched in the stomach by the assailants and another one slapped twice in the face.
The three journalists were then taken to a local police station where they were joined by two more Hong Kong reporters from another publication.
They were questioned separately by Lufeng government officials, who accused them of “illegal” reporting and breaching police cordon.
Watch: Chinese riot police clash with villagers after Wukan arrests
The Post journalist, who has proper journalist credentials issued by Beijing authorising him to work on the mainland, was released after questioning.
While he did not sign any document, other Hong Kong reporters were said to have been asked to sign a “confession letter” agreeing not to return.
After the Post reporter’s release at around 2am, he was escorted by two Lufeng government officials back to the border of Hong Kong.