Authorities employ multiple obstacles against reporters in the field.
Hotels must report any guest checking in on a journalist visa to local police.
They will frequently be paid a visit by police who photograph passports and press cards and give orders to delete pictures or video.
Journalists are frequently told to leave an area due to various obscure regulations, because it has been “closed” to outsiders, or to protect the reporter’s own “personal security.”
A persistent journalist runs the risk of several hours’ detention — especially in sensitive areas such as the restive far-western Xinjiang region — and may be pressured to write “confessions” of reporting misconduct.
The FCCC advises carrying a print-out of China’s own official rules that declare broad rights for foreign journalists, but these are often simply waived away by local authorities.
News organizations have documented numerous examples of sources, interviewees, or their own Chinese assistants facing pressure and intimidation from authorities not to cooperate with foreign media.
Journalists are routinely shadowed by police or other suspected security agents, and many have related anecdotal evidence indicating that their phones or messaging apps may have been compromised.