Happy Lunar New Year from the USC US-China Institute!
Foreign Correspondents Club of China, “Annual Working Conditions Survey,” July 11, 2013
FCCC website: www.fccchina.org
The past year has seen unprecedented examples of investigative journalism by western reporters in China. Unfortunately, the Chinese government has increasingly resorted to threats and intimidation against foreign media, according to the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China’s annual “Reporting Conditions” survey* of its members, and its review of incidents reported over the last 12 months.
The FCCC survey, carried out in May 2013, found that 98 percent of respondents do not think reporting conditions in China meet international standards, and 70 percent feel conditions have worsened or stayed the same as the year before. Only three respondents say they think things are getting better; the rest have not been here long enough to have an opinion.
Among the FCCC’s greatest concerns are - government retaliation against foreign media which have incurred official displeasure
- threats to the physical safety of reporters whose reports have offended the authorities
- increased cyber harassment and hacking attacks on foreign journalists
- continuing restrictions on journalists’ movements in Tibetan-inhabited areas of China
- official harassment of sources
- official intimidation of reporters’ Chinese assistants
The survey found 63 cases in which police officers or unknown persons impeded foreign reporters from doing their work, including nine cases in which reporters were manhandled or subjected to physical force. This represents a welcome drop from last year, but remains unacceptable.
“Attacks on journalists, those working with them and their sources have replaced detention by uniformed police.”
A US radio correspondent.
“It has now become normal that uniformed police stand with arms folded as plainclothes ‘thugs’ appear. The thugs are often violent. I have received many bruises during these incidents.” A British TV correspondent.
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