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30 November 2015

Statement by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China

The FCCC is deeply concerned by the attempts to intimidate one of our members following publication of an article related to terrorism and Xinjiang.

The correspondent of L'Obs, Ursula Gauthier, has been the subject of two inflammatory editorials in the Global Times, attacking her by name. This state-controlled paper then allowed thousands of aggressive and personal attacks on the reporter (including death threats) to be posted in the comments section of their website.

This was followed by an editorial in the China Daily, and an aggressive campaign against Ms Gauthier on several websites linked to the military where her photograph and address were published.

The correspondent was also summoned to the Foreign Ministry where officials forcefully, but unsuccessfully, sought an admission that her article had been wrong.

Receiving criticism is a normal and necessary part of journalistic work, but this is neither proportionate nor reasonable.

The FCCC is also concerned that Ms Gauthier has not yet been issued with a new press card. The FCCC regards any further delay in receiving accreditation as another serious attempt at intimidation.