February 28, 2011 09:25
Chinese authorities either telephoned or met directly with foreign correspondents in Beijing on Friday and Saturday, ahead of a second anti-government rally in Beijing, demanding that reporters obey Chinese laws. Reporters said the warning was tantamount to a ban on covering protests in the Chinese capital.
A security officer telephoned the Beijing bureau of the Chosun Ilbo on Saturday and said, "There has been a cooperative relationship with you so far, and we hope that you'll read the Friday editions of the China Daily and Beijing Daily and obey our laws."
The two newspapers cited a spokesman for the Beijing city government as saying, "When covering a story, reporters must obey the laws of their host country and get permission from either the institution or individual being interviewed." Most Korean correspondents in Beijing received similar phone calls. Some were asked whether they were going to go to the Wangfujing district, where the protests were held, and others were told that nothing should happen that "could cause trouble" for the two sides.
Chinese authorities apparently made the same demands to U.S., European and Japanese journalists. One Japanese journalist said, "Our bureau chief visited the Chinese security authorities after receiving a phone call from an official on Friday. Although there was no direct mention of the protests, demands were made to follow Chinese laws and regulations."
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