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China used Covid restrictions to harass foreign journalists in 2022

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(TibetanReview.net, Mar02’23) – As in occupied Tibet, China was reported to have used its Covid-19 restrictions, the most draconian anywhere in the world, in 2022 to carry out strict controls, harassment and constant surveillance on the foreign media supposedly permitted to operate in the country.

Over half of foreign journalists in the country were forced to leave a place or denied access on health and safety concerns last year, despite posing “no health risk by China’s own standards,” reported the firstpost.com Mar 1, citing the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC’s) annual report.

A similar percentage have said that problems with smartphone “health codes” rendered them unable to travel at some point last year.

Besides, nearly 40% have stated that speaking to foreign media had resulted in at least one source being harassed, detained, questioned, or subjected to other negative consequences, and 45% have stated that similar official pressure had been placed on Chinese colleagues.

“A bevy of state restrictions, ongoing digital surveillance, and the continued harassment of Chinese colleagues and sources means existing challenges to true freedom of the press in China remain,” the report was quoted as saying.

The findings were stated to be based on a survey of 102 of the FCCC’s 166 members, representing news organizations from 30 countries and regions.

The report noted that China had ranked 175th out of 180 countries in Paris-based Reporters Without Borders 2022 Media Freedom Index.

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