China

Correspondents say working in China isn’t getting easier

Nearly all foreign correspondents reporting from China say that the country’s working conditions fail to meet international standards, according to a report released Tuesday by the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China.

According to the report, which was based on a survey of 120 members of the correspondents’ club, 96 percent of respondents say that working conditions are “almost never” on par with conditions elsewhere around the globe. Nearly half (44 percent) said conditions in the country held steady compared to last year and a third said they worsened from year to year:

China’s importance in current affairs continues to grow, and foreign journalists’ efforts to chronicle the important events and changes have kept pace. Unfortunately, getting access to the news in China is not getting any easier.

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Survey: For foreign correspondents in China, getting a press card still ‘a privilege rather than a professional right’

In January of this year, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China conducted an annual survey of members’ visa issues and found that, compared with past years, getting a visa in China was easier for foreign journalists in 2014. In an email, the FCCC reported the findings of the survey, which had 126 responses.

We are disturbed, however, to find that the Chinese authorities are continuing to abuse the press card and visa renewal process in a political manner, treating journalistic accreditation as a privilege rather than a professional right, and punishing reporters and media organizations for the content of their previous coverage if it has displeased the government.

Some of the findings:

– Authorities appeared to use visas as a tool to threaten journalists, causing some to leave the country, one to change jobs and several to miss important stories. Read more

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Why NYT journalists are essentially stuck in China

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Why New York Times journalists can’t leave China

    The country's visa backlog puts people currently stationed there "in an unenviable professional position: Should they leave their posts, they can be pretty sure at this point that their editor won’t be able to replace them." (WP) | "At a news conference in Beijing alongside President Obama, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, appeared to draw a link between unfavorable coverage and access for reporters, saying that the visa problems of news organizations were of their own making." (NYT) | NYT editorial: "A confident regime that considers itself a world leader should be able to handle truthful examination and criticism." (NYT)

  2. Washington Post appends multiple editor's notes to Zakaria columns

    David Folkenflik noticed they were up.

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BBC website blocked throughout China

BBC

The BBC’s website has been subjected to “deliberate censorship” across China in the wake of its coverage of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Revolution, the network reports.

Weeks ago, the BBC reported that Instagram appeared to be blocked in China, and phrases like “Occupy Central” and “Hong Kong students” were hidden on Twitter searches.

The BBC notes that it has been the subject of “intermittent blackouts” in China while reporting on the country.

Also on Wednesday, Reuters reported that a Chinese official in Hong Kong told foreign journalists to report on the ongoing Umbrella Revolutions demonstrations “objectively”.

Related: Kristen Hare’s Twitter list of journalists covering the Umbrella Revolution

The BBC’s website was most recently blocked in April 2012, during the network’s coverage of activist Chen Guangcheng’s escape, according to the BBC. Read more

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Chinese police officers, paramilitary policemen and plainclothes security personnel prepare to clear Tiananmen Square ahead of an official ceremony in Beijing, China, on May 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

On eve of Tiananmen anniversary, early optimism pushed aside by press, speech crackdown

Chinese police officers, paramilitary policemen and plainclothes security personnel prepare to clear Tiananmen Square ahead of an official ceremony in Beijing, China, on May 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Two years ago in China, during the run-up to the Communist Party’s ritual changing of the guard, there was a heady mood of expectation that the country’s new top leaders might revive long-stalled political reform and maybe, just maybe, reopen the history books on one topic considered taboo: the June 4, 1989 massacre of hundreds of unarmed pro-democracy students in the streets around Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

The reasons for the early optimism were sound enough.

Xi Jinping, the incoming president, and Li Keqiang, who would become prime minister, were new generation leaders. Xi’s father, Xi Zhongxun, a revolutionary hero, was widely believed to have opposed the Tiananmen crackdown. Read more

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As China’s control grows, Hong Kong media freedoms recede

Journalists and their supporters gather outside the government headquarters in Hong Kong, Sunday, March 2, 2014, to show support for press freedoms and the former editor of Ming Pao newspaper, Lau Chun-to, who was assaulted and injured on Feb. 26, 2014. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

They got him as he stepped out of his car one morning in February. Wielding a meat-cleaver, Lau Chun-to’s assailant hacked at his back and legs, then sped away on a motorbike with an accomplice.

The attack on Lau, the former chief editor of the respected local Hong Kong paper Ming Pao, comes on the heels of a steady increase in assaults on the press. Last June, Next Media – the largest media group in Hong Kong – came under a string of attacks. Read more

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Pedestrians walk past the main entrance to the Washington Post , Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Washington Post praises rival NYT for China story

The Washington Post

The Washington Post took the unusual step of praising its competitor, The New York Times, for the latter’s story on the wealthy relatives of one of China’s most prominent political figures.

The praise came in an piece by the Editorial Board posted Friday afternoon. The Times’ story, the editorial stated, “struck a welcome blow against an aggressive effort by Chinese authorities to censor such information not just from domestic media but also from the U.S. press.” Read more

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Another Bloomberg News journalist resigns over company’s handling of China story

Jim Romenesko | The New York Times | NPR

A Bloomberg News editor resigned from the company Monday citing the mishandling of an investigative story from China, Jim Romenesko reports.

Ben Richardson, an Asia editor at large, told Romenesko by email that he also left because of what he termed Bloomberg’s misleading statements to the global press that disparaged the journalists who had worked on the story, an investigation into the financial ties between one of China’s wealthiest men and top officials:

Throughout the process, the threat of legal action has hung over our heads if we talked — and still does. That has meant that senior management have had an open field to spin their own version of events.

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White House ‘very disappointed’ NYT reporter was forced to leave China

The Weekly Standard

In a statement Thursday, the White House said it was “very disappointed that New York Times reporter Austin Ramzy was forced to leave China today because of processing delays for his press credentials.” Ramzy is a China correspondent for the Times. The Chinese government forced him to leave the country this week, saying he had “violated Chinese regulations last year by continuing to travel to and from the country using the journalist visa he was issued before he left his previous employer, Time magazine,” Andrew Jacobs reported in the Times.

 

The White House’s statement continues: Read more

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China Citizens Movement Trial

Covering China: for foreign and domestic press, self-censorship’s the threat

A plainclothes policeman, center, tries to block a foreign journalist filming while police detain the supporters of Xu Zhiyong near the No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court in Beijing Wednesday. Xu, a legal scholar and founder of the New Citizens movement, is on trial facing a charge organzing a crowd to disrupt public order. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

It’s not easy being a journalist in China these days.

Chinese reporters are facing new government restrictions, including forced training in Marxism and a new written “ideology” exam. Some, pushing the investigative envelope, have been detained, demoted and fired. Bloggers have been arrested under a new law that forbids rumor-mongering.

Meanwhile, foreign journalists have had visa renewals held up by the government, with the threat of expulsion. The standoff grew so contentious that Vice President Joe Biden had to make a personal appeal to China’s president before last-minute visas were issued earlier this month. Read more

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