The Foreign Correspondents Club of China urges the Chinese government to immediately allow correspondents into Tibetan areas for news coverage.
“Reporting interference is not in the interest of the Chinese government which is trying to show a more open, transparent and accountable image to the world,” said FCCC President Melinda Liu.
As of March 21, the FCCC has been informed of more than 39 foreign journalists who have faced obstruction while reporting on topics related to Tibet. In some instances Chinese authorities scrutinized, confiscated or deleted reporting materials. The locations where the reporting interference occurred include Lhasa, Beijing, Chengdu in Sichuan Province, Xining and Tongren in Qinghai Province, and several locations in Gansu Province.
On March 20 in Chengdu, reporter for Swedish Radio Hanna Sahlberg said police questioned a hotel receptionist she had been interviewing for about five minutes in Chengdu and told her “there is a new rule, you are not allowed to interview in this area.” The police declined to say which area, when the “new rule” started, or who issued it.
“Such interference is not in keeping with reporting regulations adopted during the Olympics period — and is especially not in keeping with the international community’s expectations of an Olympic host nation,” said Liu.
When Beijing was bidding for the Olympics in 2001, Wang Wei, Secretary General of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), promised to give international media “complete freedom to report when they come to China.”
On January 1, 2007 China introduced temporary Olympic-period regulations allowing foreign journalists to interview any organizations or individuals who consent. The regulation expires on October 17, 2008, after the Paralympic Games.