A man speaks to journalists in front of a display representing the COVID-19 disease and vaccine at an international trade fair on September 3, 2021, in Beijing, China. The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China 2021 annual survey illustrated how authorities are intimidating members of the foreign press. (Reuters/Florence Lo)

China finds new ways to intimidate foreign press, FCCC survey finds

On January 31, 2022, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) released findings from its annual member survey about press conditions in the country. The report, “Locked Down or Kicked Out,” found that 99% of foreign correspondents said China’s reporting conditions did not meet what they considered “international standards.”

The survey also documented ways Chinese authorities intimidated foreign journalists in 2021, including legal actions, creating labor shortages for foreign media organizations by refusing to issue new visas, restricting journalists’ mobility under the guise of pandemic measures, and backing online trolling campaigns.

The report also found that Hong Kong, a city where journalists could once report without fear of retaliation, is no longer an appealing relocation option after the 2020 enactment of the national security law in the city, followed by authorities’ expulsions of foreign members of the press and arrests of local journalists.

“China’s obstructions to independent reporting are worsening at the same time the world becomes increasingly polarized over China’s rise,” the FCCC wrote in the report. “The correct response is not to block journalists and their ability to work, but to let more in and to allow them to report unfettered.” The full report can be found here.