In China, foreign correspondents continue to face harassment, restrictions

Conditions for foreign correspondents in China remain difficult, with journalists reporting cases of harassment, surveillance, and restrictions on where they can work, according to findings by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China.

Ninety-eight percent of respondents to the annual survey, which examines conditions for the foreign press in China, said working conditions failed to meet international standards. The overall climate for foreign media working in China has not improved in the past year, with 29 percent of the 112 journalists who responded to the survey saying conditions have deteriorated.

The survey found “an alarming new form of harassment against reporters,” with journalists being called in for meetings with the Ministry of State Security. Another issue the club highlighted was “mounting difficulties in securing interviews with knowledgeable sources.” China’s intensified crackdown on all aspects of civil society and the characterization of foreign media as being a government tool have deterred experts from speaking to foreign media.

Other findings include:

  • Cases of interference, harassment, and violence by authorities against foreign media.
  • Attempts by authorities to discourage coverage of sensitive subjects.
  • Intimidation and harassment of sources.
  • Restrictions on journalists’ movements in border and ethnic minority regions.
  • Pressure directed at editors and managers outside China.
  • Surveillance and censorship.

Earlier this year, CPJ shared the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China’s annual findings on visa issues. That survey found delays in issuing visas had decreased but authorities continued to threaten correspondents with having a visa cancelled or not renewed in an attempt to discourage reporting on sensitive issues.

The full findings of the latest Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China can be found here.