In China, foreign correspondents see worsening conditions

Many international correspondents in China believe reporting conditions have worsened over the past year, according to a new survey by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China that also finds the Chinese government has “increasingly resorted to threats and intimidation against foreign media.”

The FCCC’s annual survey, distributed by email this week, notes that that the past year “has seen unprecedented examples of investigative journalism by western reporters in China.” (A PDF of the survey is here.) But many correspondents report heightened tensions as well. Of the 98 respondents to the survey, 70 percent said that working conditions have worsened or stayed the same as compared to the previous year. The journalists’ list of complaints was telling:

  • Government retaliation against foreign media that have incurred official displeasure
  • Threats to the physical safety of reporters whose reports have offended the authorities
  • Increased cyber harassment and hacking attacks on foreign journalists
  • Continuing restrictions on journalists’ movements in Tibetan-inhabited areas of China
  • Official harassment of sources
  • Official intimidation of reporters’ Chinese assistants

The full report is worth reading. It’s not pretty.