At the same time, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News all major news sources from China have also lost correspondents, with no prospect of China allowing substitutions. Australian newspapers no longer have any correspondents in the country after the latter two were ousted by Chinese officials earlier this month.
This imminent news vacuum appears to be the result of squabbles between China and Western countries, particularly the United States, over issues including trade, China’s crackdown on Hong Kong independence, and human rights abuses against the Uighur Muslim minority in the province. Chinese Xinjiang. Tensions have been exacerbated by the global coronavirus pandemic, which first appeared in a Chinese province last year.
Although China has kept a close eye on non-Chinese reporters for decades, its actions since the spring have created some of the most restrictive conditions since the late 1970s, when American reporters began returning to China after being banned by the government. its communist.
Beijing ousted three Wall Street Journal reporters in February, the first time since Mao Zedong decided that many foreign journalists were expelled immediately. In March, he designated five US news organizations, The Post, Times, Journal, Time magazine and VOA, as foreign missions to report to the government on their staff, finances and operations in China. He also said that journalists from those three American newspapers should leave the country when their visas expire this year.
The hostile climate sparked an unusual joint prayer by the publishers of The Post, Times and Journal. In an open letter to the Chinese government that came out as a full-page advertisement in all three newspapers in March, they urged Beijing to ease the growing repression of independent news organizations.
The result of this deteriorating climate, of course, is reduced coverage of China as the world struggles with the catastrophic impact of pandemics.
From a Chinese perspective, they would be done just as quickly with American journalists, said Orville Schell, a leading researcher on China for more than 50 years. They do not mind [financial reporters], because economic news is important to China, but they would like to get rid of all the rest. They consider those who confuse China.
Added Schell, I think they were in an extremely dangerous state of free fall [between the Chinese and U.S. governments], without any road map to arrest the falling spiral.
Growing uncertainty over Chinese rule in Hong Kong prompted the New York Times announce in July that it will relocate its Hong Kong-based digital news operations in Seoul by next year. As a British colony for decades, Hong Kong developed into a hub for Western news reporting on China. But that has been threatened by China’s attempt to limit Hong Kong’s autonomy, including the adoption of a broad rule new security law in June targeting pro-democracy factions.
Chinese officials have refused to renew a work permit for Chris Buckley, China’s veteran correspondent at Timess, urging him to leave the mainland in May. Buckley has documented a number of stories that have angered government officials and made him a target criticism in China state media, including China ‘s mistreatment of Muslims and governments confused the early response until the coronavirus outbreak.
The Times still has two correspondents in Beijing and hopes that over time we will be able to retrieve all of our reporting staff, said Michael Slackman, Timess’ assistant editor for international news. However, we are clearly struggling to figure out how best to cover China when access is such a problem. But as you can see from our report we are continuing to try to cover the most important political, social and economic stories of the day. Of course, it would be much easier if more of our correspondents were allowed to live and work again in China.
Fifield’s departure has left The Post covering China from afar, though its Beijing office will continue under two full-time Chinese scholars. Correspondent Gerry See was expelled from China in March; a young correspondent, Eva Dou, has not been able to gain accreditation since March, initially as a result of coronavirus restrictions. Despite the restrictions, The Posts foreign editor Douglas Jehl said the news organization would continue to cover China and its relations with the US vigorously.
Spokesmen for the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News declined to comment.
Two Australian journalists, Bill Birtles of the Australian Broadcasting Corp. and Michael Smith of the Australian Financial Review, left China in a hurry earlier this month after being questioned by Chinese officials. Authorities asked them about their friendship with Cheng Lei, a Chinese-born Australian who serves as news anchor for Chinese state broadcaster CGTN. She was detained on August 14 for reasons that remain unclear.
The journalists spent four days locked up at the Australian Embassy in Beijing and the consulate in Shanghai while diplomats negotiated their departure. They were finally cleared to leave, eliminating the last Australian reporters in the country.
China’s Foreign Correspondents Club denounced what it called the use of foreign journalists as hostages in wider diplomatic disputes. … Such actions by the Chinese government equate to intimidating intimidating tactics that threaten and seek to restrict the work of China-based foreign journalists, who now face the threat of arbitrary detention simply to do their job, and the circumstances the hardships that make him unstable to stay in place.
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