Foreign journalist blocked from reporting in Xinjiang

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) strongly criticises the continued targeting of foreign journalists in Xinjiang, China. The IFJ calls on the local government to guarantee the rights of the media, who are simply doing their job.

According to the Canadian-based, Globe and Mail, Beijing-based correspondent, Nathan VanderKlippe, was detained by police in Kashgar, Xinjiang for three hours on August 23, 2017. According to VanderKlippe, he was not given any reason for the detention, during which his bag and camera were searched by police, and his laptop was confiscated. After three hours he was released, but was followed by a police car the whole way to his hotel. VanderKlippe said that his computer was later returned to him along with a handwritten note, marked with an incorrect date, which read, "On July 24, 2017 at 1:35 Beijing time, [we] confiscated Nathan VanderKlippe's Apple computer for operation purposes."

Prior to his detention, VanderKlippe had been interviewing people in the town of Elishku, which is home to a large Uighur community. After 15 minutes, police arrived and VanderKlippe was detained and unable to continue his interview.

This is the second incident of a journalist from Globe and Mail been detained by police in Xinjiang. The first incident occurred in 2009.

David Walmsley, editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail said the harassment of the journalist was ‘deeply disturbing’ and they treated VanderKlippe as if ‘he were little more than a bandit’.

The IFJ Asia Pacific Office said: “The Xinjiang Government continues to try and control its image in the media through the blocking of journalists and media outlets. Reporting on Xinjiang is rare, which is only made worse by the intimidation and harassment by authorities. Xinjiang has a notoriously bad record with human rights violations, which is all the more reason that the media needs to be able to report freely.”

We urge the All China Journalists Association to request a discussion with the Governor of Xinjiang to work to create a safer working environment for the media.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +61 2 9333 0946

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

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ on Facebook: