Foreign journalists, Chinese assistants harassed

Foreign journalists, Chinese assistants harassed, by Glenda Korporaal.

Foreign correspondents working in China face some of the toughest conditions in years, including surveillance and harassment of their Chinese assistants. …

A report issued this week by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China … reveals increasing pressure on journalists working for the ABC in China, with its ­former correspondent Matthew Carne­y under surveillance in his home and office and given only a short extension of his visa after reporti­ng on a trip to Xinjiang.

“I had a high level of surveillance of my home and office, on phone, all communications apps: WeChat, Gmail, ABC email, malware on my phone,” he said in the report released on Wednesday.

Carney, who returned to Australia in December and is now the executive producer of ABC TV’s Foreign Correspondent, said in the report that two interviews with Chinese authorities last year for his visa renewal had been “angry, confrontational and threatening”.

“They came with transcripts of my reports and went through them. They told me they could not guarantee any visa renewal as my reporting was biased, dishonest and I had ‘upset senior people’,” he wrote. In the end, Carney was given an extension of only 2½ months on his visa, leading to his departure in December.

He said the ABC’s Chinese news assistants had been “routinely told by security personnel” that they were “traitors working for the foreign press and advised them to consider the consequences”.

Don’t be under illusion that China is about to become a free Western-like country. If anything it now seems to be retreating back towards hard-line dictatorship.

hat-tip Stephen Neil