Increase in Chinese intimidation of foreign journalists

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The task of a foreign news correspondent has become increasingly difficult in China when covering issues that China deems sensitive. Reporting from the Uyghurs’ homeland or Tibet or on the persecution of Uyghurs and Tibetans has become close to impossible and even dangerous, the the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) revealed in their annual report.


China has deported an increasing number of foreign journalists in recent years. Many have suffered intimidation, visa denials, online attacks, physical assaults, cyber hacking, failure to renew credentials, and even threats of lawsuits.


Ninety-nine percent of foreign journalists responding to the annual survey conducted by FCCC said that reporting conditions in China did not meet international standards.


The Chinese officials surveil foreign journalists and sometimes even pay midnight visits to the reporter’s lodging to search for any ‘suspicious’ material. They have been barring foreign journalists from entering the Uyghurs’ homeland and Tibet on the pretext of Covid restrictions. However, even when these areas have recovered from Covid spikes, foreign reporters have still encountered obstacles when trying to enter them.


Source: FCCC Annual Report.


The FCCC report mentions Telegraph correspondent Sophia Yan. She and her colleague were physically harassed by the police and tens of others in civilian clothing while visiting a remote Uyghur sacred shrine in the Uyghur homeland.


China labeled the FCCC an ‘illegal organization’ in April 2021 for its criticism of freedom of the press and human rights abuses in China. 


China ranked 177th out of 179 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index.