China: Free Reporting Fails in China
Below is an article written by Bill Schiller and published by
Despite a much-publicized Olympic pledge to give foreign journalists "complete freedom" to do their job in
In fact, rather than open China up entirely, as promised, there is ample evidence Chinese authorities continue to tail foreign correspondents, intimidate their sources, and even reprimand reporters after their stories are published, according to a new survey released today by the Foreign Correspondents Club of China.
New, more liberalized regulations that came into effect on Jan. 1 were – in theory – supposed to ensure freedom of movement and access for foreign correspondents reporting in
"We welcome the progress that has been made," FCCC president Melinda Liu said. "However we urge the Chinese government to accelerate efforts to eliminate all media restrictions.
"A nation where citizens who speak to foreign correspondents face threats, reprisals and even bodily harm, does not live up to the world's expectations of an Olympic host," Liu said.
The new survey was released amid other reports of continued intimidation of independent journalism in
Three weeks ago [01 August 2007], the government shut down a long-standing, Beijing-based newsletter on environment, health and labour issues published since 1995 by British journalist Nick Young.
Young's China Development Brief was regarded as balanced, informative and non-controversial.
But Chinese authorities accused it of conducting illegal research by engaging in the apparently egregious activity of "statistics surveys."
Young told journalists he hadn't conducted statistical surveys,
but felt the government was interpreting its own law broadly to prohibit "any kind of investigation ... even going out and talking to people."
Last week the Paris-based free speech organization Reporters Without Borders renewed its call for the release of a Mongolian journalist known by the single name of Hada, amid reports he has recently been subjected to physical abuse.
Inner Mongolian Governor Yang Jing flatly denied the allegations.
But Hada's wife has said her husband, jailed since 1995 for allegedly promoting "separatism," has recently been mistreated.
"The slogan for the Beijing Olympics, `One world, one dream,' leaves a bitter taste for
Today's FCCC report acknowledges the reporting environment inside
But many correspondents also had stories of interference, intimidation and harassment. Of the FCCC's 300 members based in
That wasn't exactly the picture promised when
At that time, Wang Wei, secretary-general of the Beijing Olympic Committee, guaranteed foreign media would have "complete freedom to report when they come to
But 67 per cent of respondents said
And some reported especially rough treatment: Mayumi Otami, a photographer with
Harold Maas, a correspondent for a German daily was prevented by authorities from travelling to a city to do interviews while on assignment in
Holly Williams and her British Sky TV crew were twice detained by police in
Some correspondents praised the Chinese central government for making a clear commitment to adjust the old, hardline practices. But they also complained that, at the local level, governments were still unaware of the new, more liberalized regulations."Not until