The EU is concerned at the increasing harassment and intimidation of journalists and media workers in China, including foreign correspondents.
The annual report of the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC), published on 1 March 2021, reflects many of these EU concerns. One of the key findings of the report is that foreign correspondents in China are increasingly facing visa restrictions -- ranging from outright visa refusals to the limited extension or cancellation of existing visas -- allegedly in retaliation to the information these foreign journalists shared, or the views their media expressed.
The FCCC Annual Report details the increase in harassment of foreign correspondents in an effort to prevent them from doing their legitimate work. The Chinese staff of foreign media is also subject to increased pressures. Foreign correspondents and their families have been exposed to hazards that affect their safety.
The EU expresses its solidarity with foreign correspondents active in China. Foreign correspondents play an important role in imparting information across frontiers and contributing to strengthening mutual understanding between the EU and China.
The EU is committed, in compliance with international human rights law, to safeguarding media freedom and pluralism, as well as protecting the right to freedom of expression online and offline, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information without interference.
The EU calls upon China to ensure abide by their obligations under national and international law. The EU recalls that, according to Article 35 of the PRC Constitution, citizens shall enjoy freedom of speech and of the press, and that according to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights ‘everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers’.