The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China is concerned and saddened to learn that since April, three Indian journalists have lost their ability to work in China as a result of being unable to renew their press credentials or having them revoked. A fourth journalist faces uncertainty over their visa amid reports they may have to leave too, which would result in Indian media having no representation in China.
In recent years, many foreign journalists working in China have been caught up in diplomatic rows outside of their control. We have seen reporters expelled as a result of bilateral tensions, or struggle to get visas or renew their credentials.
Beyond India, Canadian and Australian media currently have no reporters working in China.
This situation is deeply regrettable. Journalists are not agents of government and their right to work in China should be separate from Beijing’s diplomatic relations with their home country or that of their employer. Expelling or preventing journalists from working in China limits international coverage of the country at a time when understanding China is more important than ever. This hurts China as much as anyone else.
We urge the Chinese government to live up to its stated commitment to facilitate unhindered reporting across China.
At the same time, we urge India not to place undue restrictions on the right of Chinese and other foreign reporters to operate in that country, and deplore the politicisation of the granting of journalist visas by any country.
For further background on visa issues faced by foreign correspondents in China, please see the FCC’s most recent media freedoms report: https://fccchina.org/working-conditions/mediafreedomsreports/
This statement has been updated