A new survey of foreign journalists based in China reveals that working conditions worsened in the Communist nation in 2018.
Nearly half of the 109 members of the Foreign Correspondents Club of China (FCCC) who responded to the survey said they were followed, while more than 90 percent were concerned about the security of their phones. Nearly a quarter of the respondents were aware that Chinese authorities were tracking them using public surveillance systems.
Many of the challenges facing foreign correspondents were in the western region of Xinjiang, where up to one million Uighurs and members of other ethnic Muslim groups are being held in detainment camps. The FCCC says 24 out of 27 respondents who traveled to the Xinjiang said they experienced interference while there, with 19 being asked or forced to delete their data.
Many of the journalists have also experienced delays in having their visas renewed, or having their visas renewed for only a few months, effectively forcing them to leave China.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman rejected the survey results, telling a regular news briefing the report "was not worth refuting" and not reflective of the views of all foreign correspondents in the country.