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Over 180 foreign journalists harassed in 2007, including Reuters correspondent attacked and threatened with death

(RSF/IFEX) - The Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC) issued a press release on 1 January 2008 saying it had received more than 180 reports of foreign journalists being obstructed in their work since the introduction in January 2007 of new rules that were supposed to enable the international media to operate much more freely in China.

The FCCC said the incidents included threats, physical violence, harassment, destruction of journalistic equipment, interrogation and visa refusals. Most of these violations took place in the Beijing and Hebei regions, it said.

One of the most serious cases cited by the FCCC was that of Reuters correspondent Chris Buckley, who was physically attacked by about 10 people while doing a report on a prison. His equipment was stolen and he was threatened with death.

Brice Pedroletti, a journalist with the French daily "Le Monde", was watched when he went to research a story in Xinjiang. The people he interviewed were interrogated afterwards, while he was followed and interrogated by police.

Reporters going to Tibet have been forced to sign a pledge that they will not use their photos or film footage to convey a negative vision of Tibet and China. And then they have been followed and harassed throughout their visit.

A crew working for the international satellite TV station Al-Jazeera was detained for three hours in Anhui province while the police arrested the peasants they had just interviewed.

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