FCCC’s defamation and smearing against China violates media ethics


FCCC’s defamation and smearing against China violates media ethics

By Chrystie Lam Haa-iu and Kacee Ting Wong

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) reportedly criticised China’s quarantine policies during the pandemic which were implemented solely to protect the health of everyone in its territory. In fact, be them locals or foreigners, one must abide by the epidemic regulations. Experts from the World Health Organization were likewise subject to a 14-day quarantine when they entered China. Thus, the FCCC’s report is plainly irresponsible, defamatory and unfair to both China and foreigners.

The report also advanced groundless allegations that the freedom of press of foreign correspondents had been restricted in China. As a matter of fact, China has all along implemented the fundamental national policy of openness to the international community and welcomed media and journalists from various countries to engage in lawful news reporting activities in China and provide necessary convenience and assistance.

During the reopening of Wuhan, China organised more than 20 group interviews involving over 300 foreign correspondents. These solid facilitations and assistance provided by China to foreign media are well-documented and backed by numerous news reports.

Therefore, the FCCC report is full of falsity, misleading information and untrue allegations about the press environment in China. China has always been committed to building an open, transparent, and safe reporting environment respecting the legitimate rights and interests of foreign media. This is an important manifestation of China’s dedicated policy of promoting openness and civilised cultural exchange. Foreign media and journalists shall report on China objectively and fairly to build a constructive relationship between China and the international community.

The Unofficial FCCC cannot represent the journalists in China

Not being an officially-recognized organization, FCCC simply cannot represent China-based correspondents. Indeed, FCCC is an unlawful society neither approved by the Chinese government nor had its legitimacy ever recognized.

The members of such an organization do not cover half of all foreign correspondents based in China. Basically, it only represents a small circle of journalists from a few European countries and the US. Worse still, the so-called “statements” issued by the FCCC may be drawn up by some so-called “officers” and sometimes even issued under the organization’s title without the prior consent of other correspondents.

The FCCC’s statements are full of exaggerations and falsehoods. The organization all along neglected China’s invaluable assistance and support to foreign correspondents’ work in China but from time to time baselessly attacked China’s reporting environment as deteriorating. Ironically, the organization failed to warn or condemn the large number of false reports made by BBC correspondent John Sudworth but instead endorsed its misconduct. Such conduct is a complete disregard of the truth and basic media ethics.

FCCC purportedly relied on the few-month validity period of John Sudworth’s press certificate to allege the deterioration of the reporting environment of foreign correspondents. In fact, amongst some 500 foreign correspondents in China (including some members of the FCCC), most of them have a press certificate valid for one year. In addition, many foreign correspondents have lived and worked in China for over one to three decades. As such, the FCCC’s statement is a distortion of facts and slander.

Lastly, FCCC members should be well aware that the visa of all foreign correspondents based in the US are only valid for 3 months and they need to re-submit their visa applications every 3 months with an extra fee of US$455. By contrast, foreign correspondents in China enjoyed quite a more favourable treatment. The FCCC’s criticisms against China are obviously unfair and groundless.

The organization’s statements are full of lies and distortion. For instance, it claimed that Sudworth was ‘expelled’ like the 18 US journalists last year. In fact, China’s treatment of Sudworth was lawful and reasonable. Indeed, it cannot be clearer on the rights and wrongs of Sino-US journalist issues last year. Driven by the political motive of suppressing China, the US refused or delayed the visa application of more than 20 Chinese correspondents without reason, and expelled more than 60 Chinese journalists. China has the right to make a legitimate and necessary response. The untrue and misleading approach of such a statement is disgusting.

The FCCC’s statement is chilling. The statement claimed that Sudworth’s departure will cause a loss of the outside world’s effort to understand China, which is nothing but nonsense. Sudwort’s false reports and malicious slanders have already brought huge loss to China whilst his departure can allow the outside world to have a more objective, truthful and clearer understanding of the country.

No country could tolerate people who maliciously fabricate and spread false information to bring negative impacts upon itself, and China is certainly not an exception. The handling of Sudworth is just the beginning of justice being served and it’s believed that China will not tolerate anyone violating China’s dignity and interests in whatever manner.

Truth revealed: FCCC report is grossly inaccurate

Javier García worked for the internationally renowned Spanish news agency EFE and was well experienced in reporting in Palestine, Venezuela, Germany, China and other countries. Differentiating himself from his Western counterparts, in September 2021, García posted 14 “tweets” on “Twitter” announcing that he would give up his three-decade journalism career. “The annoying anti-China information war has almost exhausted my aspirations on journalism,” he said.

Revealing that the FCCC’s report was inaccurate, Gracia’s report again exposed the true colour of the organization and its members. Claiming to protect the rights and interests of foreign correspondents in China, FCCC is in fact a notorious anti-China organization.

Garcia revealed that about 70% to 80% of FCCC members come from the English-language media in the US and the UK whose narratives about China are basically negative. Media in other western countries basically follow the lead of those British and American media, namely the former setting the agenda and calibre of Chinese reports and the latter merely follow.

Garcia’s words unmasked the true face of the FCCC which not only defended foreign correspondents making biased reports on China, but was possibly manipulated by foreign governments. FCCC is a representative of Western anti-China forces and none of its members is friendly to China. These people fabricate facts and spread rumours against China’s interests and image. Their behaviour has reached the critical point of damaging China’s image and dignity in a serious violation of Chinese sovereignty and people’s national sentiments.

These reports demonstrate the prejudice and injustice of the FCCC and its members, damaging their image and reputation in China. The organization and its members are urged to treat China with an objective and fair attitude, pay due respect Chinese sovereignty and dignity, and report on China in an accurate and proper manner.

Chrystie Lam Haa-iu is director of labour and welfare affairs, Chinese Dream Think Tank, Research assistant of Chambers of Kacee Ting and founder of the Coalition of Global Home Service Sustainable Development.

Kacee Ting Wong is a barrister, part-time researcher of Shenzhen University Hong Kong and Macao Basic Law Research Center, and chairman of the chinese Dream Think Tank.

The views do not necessarily reflect those of DotDotNews.

【CDTT Newspaper Article】Chrystie Lam Haa-iu and Kacee Ting Wong:FCCC’s defamation and smearing against China violates media ethics (Dot Dot News, 10 Aug 2023)


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中國夢智庫| 駐華外國記者協會(FCCC)充滿偏見,無端造謠抹黑中國