US urges China to give journalists freedom at Beijing Olympics – Community News
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US urges China to give journalists freedom at Beijing Olympics

The United States urged China not to restrict journalists’ access and movement when reporting on the 2022 Winter Olympics.

US officials have not disclosed whether the US will participate in the Games, but said Washington would continue to raise concerns about human rights issues in China.

“We urge officials of the People’s Republic of China not to restrict freedom of movement and access for journalists, and to ensure that they remain safe and report freely, including at the Olympic and Paralympic Games,” said Ned Price, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. said in response to questions from VOA during Thursday’s press conference.

In a statement this week, Beijing-based journalists expressed deep concern about “the lack of transparency and clarity” of Olympic Games-related coverage in China.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China said in a tweet that “for the past year, the foreign press has been continuously thwarted in its coverage of the preparations for the Winter Olympics, denied participation in routine events and denied access to sports venues in China.” .”

“We put together a TV story with material from a tour of an Olympic venue and mentioned human rights boycotts,” said a reporter for an international broadcaster. “Shortly after that, the tour organizer called me on WeChat, the Chinese chat app, and yelled at me in English and Chinese for my report, threatening not to invite us in the future. We’ve been denied access since.”

‘Major concerns’

Days after G-20 leaders appeared to be nodding at the Beijing Games, the State Department said the US still has “deep concerns about the situation in Xinjiang and a number of other issues related to human rights in China.” the PRC.”

G-20 leaders said in a joint statement after the October 30-31 meeting in Rome that they are “looking forward to the 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympic Games in Beijing”, adding that the opportunities for athletes from around the world world to fight “as a symbol of humanity’s resilience.”

In Beijing, Chinese officials interpreted the statement as a welcome endorsement, just as the country prepares to host the Games, scheduled for February 4-20.

“The event has recently received good wishes and support from the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and many countries,” Wang Wenbin, spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, said at a briefing on Wednesday.

“Dignitaries and officials of the Olympic Committee from countries such as Austria, France, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Russia and Belarus said they support and will attend the Beijing Winter Olympics,” Wang added.

The Winter Games have been marred by controversy and protests, although Chinese officials said Beijing would continue to take an “inclusive and open” approach in the run-up to the Games.

calls for boycott

Human rights activists and both Democratic and Republican members of the US Congress have called for a boycott of the Winter Olympics because of China’s human rights record.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States will continue to raise concerns about human rights issues as it works with China on parallel interests such as Iran, North Korea and the climate crisis.

Blinken met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on the sidelines of the G-20 in Rome on Sunday, ahead of a virtual meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping towards the end of the year.

Both countries anticipate a virtual bilateral meeting between their leaders following the upcoming virtual meetings between leaders in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).

The APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, hosted by New Zealand, is on November 12.

A virtual meeting between Biden and Xi on the sidelines of APEC is unlikely, diplomatic sources say. Some analysts said they saw little benefit in scheduling a bilateral meeting in the US and China around the APEC virtual summit.

“The multilateral agenda is not being held hostage to the US-China relationship, nor are the world’s two largest economies having to plan their virtual calendars around virtual summits,” said Drew Thompson, senior research fellow at National University’s Lee Kuan. or Singapore. Yew School of Public Policy.

US officials say keeping the lines of communication open is the way to responsibly manage competition between Washington and Beijing and avoid military conflict.

While the US is clear about reducing risk and avoiding misconception and miscalculation, Beijing’s top priority is to make Washington see the mistakes of its ways and develop policies and approaches that Beijing believes are correct, Thompson said.

On Thursday, State Department spokesman Price said the US has a “One China” policy that “differs from China’s version of it”, pushing back comments from China’s foreign minister Wang. , who said the US has “a real One China policy, rather than a fake policy.”