Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China site under attack

New York, April 2, 2010—The denial of service attack on the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) Web site is contributing to an atmosphere in which journalists feel their communication is not secure and their reporting is under threat, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

The FCCC confirmed in an e-mailed statement today that it has shut down its Web site because of denial-of-service attacks, and that the attacks apparently came from computers within China and in the United States. Denial-of-service attacks can be intentionally generated when many users try to connect to a Web site simultaneously, overwhelming the server that hosts the Web site.

“We do not know who is behind these attacks or what their motivation is,” the FCCC’s statement said.

As part of a report on Wednesday on attacks on foreign correspondents’ Yahoo e-mail accounts in China, CPJ reported that the site was unavailable, apparently due to a shutdown.

“We are concerned about the hostile environment this creates for foreign journalists in China and the potential risk it poses to their sources,” said Bob Dietz, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “Journalists working in China are increasingly concerned about online communication and the implications Web interference has for their reporting.”

The FCCC’s membership is made up of many of the foreign correspondents working in the country, though it is not officially recognized by the Chinese government. 

On March 22, search engine Google rerouted users in China to its uncensored Hong Kong site, after it decided to no longer censor search results to users in China. CPJ welcomed the decision.