China: Chinese police intimidate and pressure Spanish journalist

China has been accused of “veiled intimidation” after Beijing police visited the home of Jaime Santirso, one of their correspondents, on March 4 and questioned him about his coverage of the National People’s Congress.

Journalist Jamie Santirso at the second plenary session of China's Legislative Assembly in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, March 7 2022. Credit: Twitter

Agustin Yanel, the General Secretary of the Federation of Journalists' Trade Unions (FeSP) said: "The Federation of Journalists' Unions in Spain (FeSP) rejects the attempt to intimidate the journalist Jaime Santirso and the closure of the ABC website which, since last year, cannot be visited in China.

This is not the first time that the Chinese government has hindered the work of foreign correspondents in that country. This is a practice that we condemn because it is a serious attack on freedom of information and on the right to information of the citizens of that country.

The FeSP urges the Chinese embassy in Madrid not to allude to journalists in its publications when they do not like their information, as it has done with Santirso. If they consider that the information contains errors they can use the channels of rectification that exist in the Spanish legislation".

Marta Barcenilla Escaño from the Federación de Servicios a la Ciudadanía de CCOO (CCOO Federation of Citizen Services) said:"The  FSC - CCOO journalists' grouping considers unacceptable that the Chinese authorities try to intimidate Spanish correspondents in China and even more that they block the websites of Spanish media, as they did with ABC last year.

The Beijing government has to understand that the right to information is a human right and must guarantee the integrity of foreign journalists as well as national ones.

We hope that Jaime Santirso and the rest of the Spanish correspondents in China can continue to do their work from Beijing without further harassment by the Chinese government. Journalism is not a crime, it is a fundamental right."

The IFJ said: "The IFJ has documented a clear pattern of harassment or intimidation of journalists from countries that do not follow in step with China's line, particularly on any sensitive topics. It is this type of intimidation that has forced other correspondents to leave their posts or relocate. Wolf warrior diplomacy and pressure from the state, combined with outright blocking like this, is part of a strategy to control the media narrative and attack foreign journalists' independence.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram