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From visa denials to online trolling, foreign journalists in China say they face ‘unprecedented hurdles’

The report, which was launched Monday, stated foreign correspondents are going through “unprecedented hurdles” overlaying the world’s most populous nation. Those hurdles embrace online trolling, cyber hacking, visa denials and bodily assaults.

Almost all of the foreign journalists surveyed stated that reporting circumstances in China didn’t meet what they thought-about to be worldwide requirements. The survey was carried out in December 2021, and contains responses from 127 of 192 correspondent members representing information organizations globally.

As the Chinese authorities continues “to block and discredit independent reporting,” overlaying one of many world’s most vital economies is “increasingly becoming an exercise in remote reporting,” the report stated.

The survey comes simply days earlier than the beginning of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Declining media freedoms have made protection of the occasion difficult for information organizations world wide.

Foreign media corporations in China are working below “critical labor shortages” as authorities have “failed to grant new credentials to numerous journalists seeking to begin assignments, citing the pandemic and geopolitical tensions,” the report stated. The authorities has, nonetheless, issued different forms of visas — together with enterprise visas — to foreigners, the report added.

As many as 46% of respondents stated that their bureaus had been understaffed due to their incapacity to deliver in the required variety of journalists.

News organizations headquartered in the United States have been struggling since China expelled numerous journalists working for American information corporations in early 2020. At the time, Beijing had insisted that it was pressured to retaliate after the Trump administration designated US branches of China’s state media retailers as “foreign missions,” and capped the variety of Chinese journalists working for these retailers in the United States.

American information organizations affected by the Chinese expulsions included the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

Last November, the 2 nations agreed to relax some visa restrictions on one another’s journalists. However, as of the top of 2021, “China had yet to grant visas to the handful of US journalists promised under the agreement,” the report famous.

China’s Foreign Ministry did not instantly reply to a request for remark.

When requested about an earlier FCCC assertion that highlighted harassment of foreign journalists in China, a Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected the allegation and insisted China’s reporting setting is “open and free.”

“As long as foreign journalists abide by the law and do reporting in compliance the law and regulations, there is no need to worry,” Zhao Lijian stated in July.

The nation’s Covid-19 restrictions have hampered not simply the visa course of, but in addition the work of journalists on the bottom. Sudden lockdowns stay widespread throughout China, prompting reporters to cancel or postpone journeys, the survey discovered. More than half the respondents stated “they were told to leave a place or denied access for health and safety reasons when they presented no risk.”

Authorities have continuously invoked “Covid prevention measures as a supposed reason to turn down interviews and block access for journalists,” the report stated. This contains blocking entry to delicate areas resembling Xinjiang, the place reporters have tried to cowl allegations of human rights abuses towards Uyghurs and different ethnic minorities.

This wasn’t the one tactic used to discourage reporting in the area. Nearly 90% of the journalists who traveled to Xinjiang final yr stated that they had been “visibly followed, often by men in plainclothes.”

The Chinese authorities have additionally cracked down on sources, the report stated. Chinese sources are routinely threatened by police and compelled to cancel interviews on the final minute. Journalists are additionally combating shrinking entry to teachers, assume tanks and staff of each state-owned and personal enterprises, the place approval is required from higher-ups in order to converse to foreign reporters.

Meanwhile, 1 / 4 of respondents stated they had been focused online because of their reporting in China. The report stated that organizations — together with the BBC, NPR, and the Economist — have been “attacked by state-linked entities, state media, and anonymous social media accounts for their reporting.”

“Such campaigns have fostered a growing feeling among the Chinese public that foreign media are the enemy and directly encourage offline violence and harassment of journalists in the field,” the FCCC stated in a press launch on Monday.

“Foreign journalists and their families are being harassed so severely by the state that a handful of correspondents, demoralized and under attack, have simply left mainland China.”

— CNN’s Beijing Bureau contributed to this report.



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