Foreign press in China face fewer visa delays but obstacles remain, FCCC finds

The results of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China’s annual survey, released at the end of March, are a mixed bag. While problems raised in previous surveys, such as renewing visas, have eased, the responses show challenges remain for the international press.

A summary of the survey on visa issues found:

While fewer correspondents reported trouble renewing their press cards and visas at the end of 2015 than in 2014, police and other authorities throughout the past year have persisted in their attempts to discourage correspondents from reporting on sensitive court cases and protests by suggesting that their presence at such events might result in non-renewal of their press cards or visas.

For the foreign press corps, the club said, the 2015 expulsion of Ursula Gauthier, a reporter for the French magazine L’Obs, was the most egregious case of abuse, accompanied as it was by attacks against Gauthier in state-controlled media and thousands of aggressive and personal attacks–including death threats–that were posted online.

The survey was sent in January to 177 members of the Beijing-based club and 351 non-members. The results, which are based on 142 responses, is available for members at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China’s website. CPJ has regularly posted the report online for public access. The latest findings can be viewed here.