Worries about harassing foreign journalists in flooding China

The Foreign Correspondent Association in China is concerned about a number of recent cases of harassment of journalists reporting the floods in Henan Province. The Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC) warns that journalists are jeopardized by the rhetoric of organizations associated with the Communist Party.

In this context, an incident is cited with the BBC China correspondent Robin Brant, among other things. He was harassed online after Henans Communist Youth League called 1.6 million followers through the social media network Weibo to report where he uthing.

Shortly thereafter, reporters for the Los Angeles Times and German broadcaster Deutsche Welle were harassed in a flooded market because they were thought to be the BBC reporter. In addition, the clothes and camera of the Deutsche Well reporter were grabbed. Both were stopped for some time when they wanted to leave.

Deutsche Welles reporter was accused by the crowd of spreading misinformation amongst other things:

Employees of Qatari news channel Al Jazeera and the international news agency AP have also experienced problems reporting on the floods. For example, Al Jazeeras team was followed and filmed and AP journalists were stopped and reported to the police. The French news agency AFP is forced to remove filmed material.

According to the foreign correspondents association, harassment is partly the result of Chinese nationalism and is sometimes directly encouraged by Chinese officials. In particular, the FCCC also claims to be concerned about the threats against Chinese foreign media employees. They would be falsely accused of espionage and treason online, purely for their work.