On the 4th of May around a dozen foreign correspondents were summoned to the visa department of the Public Security Bureau.
Earlier that day they had been reporting in the car park of the Chaoyang Hospital where blind activist Chen Guangcheng is currently undergoing medical treatment. They were seeking to speak to United States Embassy staff who had arrived to visit Mr Chen.
At the PSB, they were questioned individually and told that they were in breach of Article 17 of the Chinese reporting rules for foreign journalists. This rule says: “a foreign journalist who intends to interview organisations or individuals in China needs to obtain their prior consent”.
They were then warned that if they were to break this rule again their visas would be revoked.
The FCCC considers this a disproportionately harsh response designed to intimidate correspondents and requests the authorities to refrain from making such threats in the future.