Foreign journalists being harassed severely by China: Report

The report by the Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) of China said journalists there face physical assaults, hacking, online trolling and visa denials, the BBC reported. Local journalists in mainland China and Hong Kong are also being targeted. China has labelled the FCC an "illegal organisation".

Media freedom in China is declining at "breakneck speed", according to a report by a group representing foreign journalists in the country.

The report by the Foreign Correspondents Club (FCC) of China said journalists there face physical assaults, hacking, online trolling and visa denials, the BBC reported.

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Local journalists in mainland China and Hong Kong are also being targeted.

China has labelled the FCC an "illegal organisation".

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It comes as the world's media turn their attention to the Beijing Winter Olympics, which is already under scrutiny due to alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang and a crackdown in Hong Kong, the report said.

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The report found that foreign journalists are being harassed so severely by the state that a handful of correspondents have left mainland China.

Others have been forced to come up with emergency exit plans as a precaution.

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Chinese colleagues of foreign reporters have also faced intimidation with authorities harassing their families, the BBC report said.

Other reporters such as Australian Cheng Lei and Chinese national Haze Fan have been detained for over a year over allegations of being involved in state security cases.

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"Continued zero-Covid policies, staffing issues, rising geopolitical tensions, growing mistrust, and at times outright hostility towards Western media in China create a perfect storm," the BBC quoted an editor of the report as saying.

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