A reporter, sent to Beijing by Japanese conservative daily newspaper Sankei Shimbun on August 29th to cover the meeting between the Foreign Ministries of China and Japan, was suddenly declared persona non grata without given a precise reason at the request expressed by Chinese Minister Wang Yi. The reporter’s name was not disclosed. In response, other Japanese journalists who came to cover the meeting boycotted the event.
"This arbitrary decision once again demonstrates how little Beijing is doing about press freedom," said Cédric Alviani, Director of the RSF East Asia Office. “This sidelining appears even more absurd as the journalist was accredited to follow the delegation and that the Chinese authorities had granted him a visa."
In its annual report published in February, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) described the authorities' growing relentlessness in preventing the foreign press from doing its job. In 2017, two photojournalists from the South Korean delegation were beaten by plainclothes agents while covering President Moon's official visit to Beijing.
Last week, the head correspondent of Buzzfeed News in China saw her visa renewal refused, as did a Swedish journalist in 2016, a correspondent of French magazine L’Obs in 2015, and a New York Times reporter in 2013.
China ranks 176th out of 180 countries in the 2018 RSF World Press Freedom Index and has more than 50 imprisoned journalists.