Reporters were denied access to sensitive areas due to public health concerns, and they were threatened with enforced quarantine, according to the report. Visa restrictions were also used as a means of putting pressure on people to report. According to the FCCC, at least 13 journalists were given press credentials that were only valid for six months or less.
Foreign journalists working in China typically receive one-year visas that must be renewed every year. It went on to say that journalists were also used as "pawns" in China's diplomatic disputes. During a series of tit-for-tat actions between the countries in 2020, China expelled more than a dozen foreign journalists working for U.S. media organisations.
The number of journalists allowed to work in the United States at four major Chinese state-owned media outlets was also reduced by Washington. After being interrogated by China's state security ministry in September, Australia assisted two of its foreign correspondents in leaving the country.
Journalists reporting from Xinjiang's far western region, where China has been accused of widespread human rights violations, faced particularly harsh treatment, according to the report. Last year, Chinese authorities arrested Cheng Lei, an Australian citizen who worked for Chinese state media, and Haze Fan, a Chinese national who worked for Bloomberg News, on suspicion of endangering national security.