Foreign journalists in China subject to rising intimidation, survey finds
By Helen Davidson
30 January 2022
The Chinese government is finding new ways to intimidate foreign journalists, their Chinese colleagues and their sources, and harassment has reached such a high level that at least six have left the country, according to a key report.
The methods include online trolling, physical assaults, hacking and visa denials, as well as what appears to be official encouragement of lawsuits or threats of legal action against journalists, “typically filed by sources long after they have explicitly agreed to be interviewed”.
The report, compiled by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC), said: “The FCCC highlights this development with alarm, as foreigners involved in civil or criminal lawsuits and court proceedings in China can be banned from leaving the country, based on past precedent.”
Under the rule of Xi Jinping, China has grown increasingly authoritarian, with worsening crackdowns on press freedom and harassment of foreign media and their staff. Cheng Lei, an Australian journalist for the state broadcaster China Global Television Network, and Haze Fan, a Chinese journalist for Bloomberg, remain in jail after more than a year.