An important journalist association has denounced the Chinese Communist Party not only for violating the foreign press’ rights to report but also for intimidating and harassing them.
In response, the U.S. State Department spokesman called out the Chinese Communist Party to allow free movement and access to journalists attempting to report on the Olympic Games in Beijing.
“We urge PRC (People’s Republic of China) officials not to limit freedom of movement and access for journalists, and to ensure that they remain safe and able to report freely, including at the Olympic and the Paralympic Games,” State Department spokesman Ned Price told VOA News.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) used its Twitter account, banned in China, to make a strong and extensive denunciation against the Chinese regime authorities, saying that the regulations on how to report on the sporting event are not clear and transparent and calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Beijing Organizing Committee (BOCOG) to improve the conditions for working.
“Over the last year, the foreign press corps has been continuously stymied in its coverage of Winter Olympic Game preparations, denied attendance at routine events, and prevented from visiting sports venues in China,” the journalists’ association wrote.
The FCCC detailed in a series of nearly 30 tweets that they deny entry to press conferences to foreign journalists, with excuses that they were traveling through counties that ‘had COVID cases’ and only allow them entry to local media—which are all controlled and funded by the CCP.
The Journalists’ Club also accused the Chinese regime of repeatedly lying.
“In its bid for the 2022 Winter Games, China explicitly promised that “media seeking to report on the Games would have the freedom to report… and would also be free to report on Games preparation,” the FCCC tweeted.
“Yet in the last year, the foreign press corps has largely been unable to attend any press conferences or even observe routine events—such as venue visits or the arrival of the Olympic flame—which are open to Chinese domestic media,” it added.
The CCP also uses various methods to prevent foreign journalists from participating in events they are supposed to attend. For example, it asks them to test negative for COVID within hours, which they claim is impossible to comply with.
With the excuse of the pandemic, Beijing also stopped granting visas to foreign correspondents, so there are already very few foreign correspondents to cover the event.
Ironically, explains the FCCC, the IOC’s ‘Integrity and Compliance Hotline’ through which journalists could file a complaint about the violation of the regulations towards journalists by the Chinese authorities is currently not functioning.
Intimidation, harassment and persecution of journalists
To illustrate the ordeal of correspondents in China attempting to cover the Olympics, the FCCC shared two stories of an international journalist and an American who suffered abuse.
“We put together a TV story with material from a tour of an Olympic venue and mentioned human rights boycotts. Soon after, the tour organizer called me on WeChat, the Chinese chat app, and yelled at me in English and Chinese for my report, threatening not to invite us in the future. We haven’t been given access since,” was the account of the journalist from an international broadcaster.
“I visited the Yanqing Olympic venues and took some photos with my iPhone along a public road. A security guard in a SUV began following slowly. Pretty soon, a police squad car showed up with lights flashing. They wanted to know what I was doing there and took pictures of my passport. We stood there for half an hour, before they told me that any Qs had to go to the Olympics organizers. Then they left. It was sunset, but a couple more guards got in my way if I tried to take any photos in the near darkness.” Recalled a U.S. newspaper reporter.
In August, Republican and Democratic senators introduced a resolution calling for relocating the Olympics away from Beijing because the Chinese regime “committed crimes against humanity.”
There is abundant evidence that the CCP persecutes, tortures, and kills hundreds of thousands of believers, including Christians, Uyghurs, and Falun Dafa practitioners, just because of their faith.
However, the Olympic Committee, in the face of international pressure calling for a boycott of the Games, stated that it is not within its rights to complain to the CCP about human rights.
“We are not a world government. We have to respect the sovereignty of the countries who are hosting the games,” Coates, the IOC vice president said at an event in Australia.
“We have no ability to go into a country and tell them what to do… it’s not our remit,” Coates added, directly contradicting the values promoted by the Olympic movement described on its website.