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China’s harassment of foreign journalists

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In the third week of July, Henan province in central China faced devastating floods, with its capital Zhengzhou witnessing a year’s worth of rain in just three days. Residents of the city found themselves trapped in the subway metro network, parking lots and road tunnels by these torrential rains. In one such incident, many people died when the floodwaters breached the Zhengzhou Metro network on July 21.[i] Many of them also complained of slow government response. Officially, the floods claimed the lives of 302 people, though unofficial estimates are much higher.[ii]

While the world has stepped in to help China in its hour of difficulty, foreign journalists covering this human tragedy have faced backlash from the city’s angry residents. Many have described the foreign reporting as “vicious campaigns” and “negative portrayals” of China. Some of them have also confronted these journalists covering the Zhengzhou Metro incident. Alice Su of the Los Angeles Times and Mathias Boelinger of the German media Deutsche Welle were confronted by an angry crowd in Zhengzhou, who filmed and questioned them and accused them of “rumour-mongering” and slandering China.

Su and Boelinger, who were covering the aftermath of the floods in Zhengzhou, were surrounded by an angry mob, pushed and yelled at for “smearing China”.[iii] A hashtag related to the incident went viral on Weibo, with many abusing and threatening them and some even doxing the journalists. It was also used to target Katrina Yu, a correspondent for Al Jazeera.[iv]

Liu Ludong, an outspoken nationalist with more than 6.5 million followers on Weibo, called for Su’s........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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