When Beijing was awarded the Olympics, the government promised foreign correspondents “complete freedom” to report — from January 1, 2007 to October 17, 2008, that is. So far, China’s performance wouldn’t win the country any medals.
In a survey released Tuesday, more than 180 of over 300 foreign journalists surveyed in China reported some kind of reporting interference, according to the Beijing-based Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China. The club’s definition of harassment includes “violence,” “destruction of journalistic materials,” “detention,” “interception of communications” and “denial of access to public areas,” to name a few. In one of the most serious incidents, Reuters correspondent Chris Buckley was kicked in the back by thugs who threatened to kill him.
This news follows close on the heels of a crackdown on domestic writers, too. Last Thursday, 34-year-old blogger Hu Jia was arrested in his Beijing home on charges of “incitement to subvert state power.” Also last month, another prominent blogger, Wang Dejia, was arrested on similar charges. PEN, a nonprofit group, believes there are now more than 40 writers “unjustly imprisoned” in China. Pressure on domestic sources, whom correspondents are supposedly “free” to talk to now, isn’t quantified.
Read the rest here: