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FCCC statement on search and detention risk for journalists travelling between Hong Kong and China

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China has warned that journalists travelling between Hong Kong and China risk being detained and having their digital devices searched.   

“Journalists travelling through Beijing and Shenzhen have been subjected to such searches, which have in some cases involved detention of several hours”, the FCCC said in a statement.

“The FCCC strongly condemns any use of border powers by Chinese authorities to target properly-accredited journalists for search and detention” and added that “unnecessary and arbitrary searches constitute intimidation and harassment”.

It warned that “particular care” should be taken with devices that contain confidential material.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China has received multiple reports in recent days and weeks of Chinese border officials detaining journalists and searching their digital devices when travelling between the mainland and Hong Kong.

Journalists travelling through Beijing and Shenzhen have been subjected to such searches, which have in some cases involved detention of several hours. Officials have searched phones, cameras and laptops belonging to journalists who work for at least five organizations headquartered in North America and Europe. In at least one instance, a correspondent was barred from using a phone to notify others of the detention.

The FCCC strongly condemns any use of border powers by Chinese authorities to target properly-accredited journalists for search and detention. In some cases, officials have cited non-existent visa problems as grounds for detention.

Unnecessary and arbitrary searches constitute intimidation and harassment and hamper correspondents’ ability to report freely and openly in mainland China and Hong Kong.

The FCCC also warns correspondents to be mindful of the possibility of search and detention when returning to mainland China from Hong Kong. Particular care should be taken with electronic devices that may contain confidential material.




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