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  • Statements | 6 August, 2009 (12:57)

    Results Of July Membership Survey

    The FCCC received 57 responses to a July 2009 questionnaire on reporting conditions in the year following the 2008 Olympics.

    The results include:

    INCIDENTS INVOLVING CORRESPONDENTS
    16 incidents of violence
    16 incidents of destruction of photos or other reporting materials
    100 incidents of being turned away from public spaces
    75 incidents of being followed by authorities
    18 incidents of being reprimanded by government authorities

    INCIDENTS INVOLVING SOURCES
    6 incidents of violence
    45 incidents of intimidation
    11 incidents of punishment
    23 incidents of summoning by authorities for questioning

    INCIDENTS INVOLVING ASSISTANTS
    1 incident of violence
    21 incidents of intimidation
    23 incidents of being summoned by authorities for questioning about foreign correspondent

    COMMENTS BY CORRESPONDENTS

    On Harassment of Sources and Assistants:

    “About two weeks after I interviewed a man who was trying to expose shoddy construction of schools that collapsed in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, his wife and daughter had what he believes was a staged car accident. He had previously received death threats from local authorities, and thought the accident was a warning not to talk to media any more.” Marcel Grzanna, Aachener Zeitung

    “State security should lay off national editorial assistants. Mine has been ‘taken to lunch’ three times in last four months, the last time for four hours, reducing her to tears. She was told not to tell me that they were even meeting because doing so would violate ‘state secrecy laws’. The Chinese government wants international credit for appearing ‘modern’ and ‘open’ to foreign reporters, but at the very same time it is busy beneath the surface, threatening its own nationals who work for international news organizations. This is my fourth international posting. I have never confronted hypocrisy on this scale from a host government. ” Western print reporter

    On Reporting in Urumqi:

    “I was able to move relatively freely around Urumqi, and able to conduct interviews in a hospital without an appointment, but when I interviewed a Uighur family in their own home I was followed inside by plainclothes officers. The staff at the media center were helpful.” Matthias Kamp, WirtschaftsWoche – The German Business Weekly

    “I was accompanied by a cadre at People’s Hospital No. 2. The official was pleasant, but wouldn’t allow me to interview a patient who asked to speak to me. We had to abandon a plan to interview another Uighur patient because four police had sealed off the hospital wing. I roamed the streets and spoke to people randomly. The next day a photocopied warning was slipped under the door saying that ‘independent interviews’ were discouraged.” Bill Schiller, The Toronto Star

    On Suggested Improvements:

    “Last year in Sichuan, foreign journalist passes included vague restrictions on making “unreasonable” requests of interviewees. This year in Xinjiang, foreign reporters were warned against asking questions that “incite racial hatred”. At a weekly briefing, a Foreign Ministry spokesman has stated that in addition to the interviewee’s consent, foreign reporters must also take into account the convenience of local officials. Such an interpretation leaves foreign journalists’ rights right back where they started: subject to the whims of officials. These demands appear out of line with regulations on foreign journalists and should be dropped.” Anthony Kuhn, National Public Radio