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Source: Reporters Without Borders –

On 16th December, independent reporter and former New York Times photographer Du Bin, a Chinese national, was placed in detention in Beijing allegedly for “picking quarrels and provoking trouble“. In 2013, he was already arrested and released on bail after releasing a documentary film on the living conditions of a labour camp’s female prisoners

A week prior Du Bin’s arrest, on 7th December, Bloomberg news assistant Haze Fan, another Chinese national, was also placed in detention by the Beijing National Security Bureau for allegedly “endangering national security”. Employed at Bloomberg since 2017, she is a seasoned journalist who has previously worked for international news outlets CfNBC, CBS News, Al Jazeera and Thomson Reuters.

“After years of repression on local journalists, the Chinese regime now clearly targets foreign media, one of the last remaining groups able to produce uncensored information on China”, denounces Cédric Alviani, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) East Asia Bureau head, who calls on democracies to “step up their pressure on Beijing so that it releases Haze Fan, Du Bin and all other jailed journalists and press freedom defenders“. 

In a joint statement published on 12th December, several foreign correspondents’ clubs and associations in Asia expressed their concern about the growing harassment against journalists working for international media in China. On the same day, the European Union also urged for the release of Haze Fan and all other journalists detained in China. 

In recent years, the Chinese regime has increased intimidation, harassment and surveillance on foreign correspondents, their local assistants and their sources. This year only, at least 17 foreign journalists have been expelled from China and several foreign correspondent’s visa requests to Hong Kong were denied without explanation. 

China remains the world’s biggest captor of journalists with at least 119 of them detained in life-threatening conditions and ranks 177th out of 180 countries in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index published by RSF.