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Chinese Officials Obstructed Western Reporters from Conducting Interviews about Covid in China

Selina Wang, a CNN reporter stationed in China, was interfered with and even blocked from interviewing Chinese people regarding COVID. Her reporting team went to Guizhou Province to do an interview. When they arrived at Rongjiang County where the Dong ethnic group people live, six local officials “welcomed” them and started following them. Four stayed in the same or nearby hotels. Every morning they were in the hotel lobby waiting for Selina’s team and then followed them. Those followers brought an official with them who would speak in the Dong dialects to the villagers before Selina interviewed them. They refused to tell Selina what they told the villagers.

Realizing they could not have a meaningful interview, Selina’s team drove to a town two hours away. When they went to a hospital and started interviewing people, a man showed up. He claimed he was from the Propaganda Department and asked what Selina was doing there. Selina and her team then drove to a village clinic 30 minutes away. That man and another woman followed them and told the people there not to say anything to Selina.

Selina’s team then went to another place and found a woman who was willing to talk to them about the Chinese New Year. After a few questions, a government staff member arrived in the middle of the interview and took the interviewee away. Selina went to a few hospitals afterwards. However. the government staff members always followed them. For that reason, no one was willing to be interviewed.

An Internet posting also revealed that the Tianshui City Maji District Communist Party Propaganda Department, Gansu Province, issued an “Urgent Notice” to all of its towns, street residential committees, and the District Health Bureau. The notice stated, “ The Provincial Propaganda Department called to inform us that on January 17, three foreign media reporters (2 men and 1 woman), without permission, conducted interview activities in hospitals, health centers, community health service stations, and villages in Lanzhou City and Dingxi City (both are in Gansu Province). They are likely to sneak into Tianshui City to continue their activities tomorrow and the next day (January 18 and 19).”

The notice asked towns, street residential committees, and District Health Bureaus to attach great importance and pay close attention (to this activity). If they found those three people’s whereabouts, they were advised report to the District Party Committee Propaganda Department contact person Dong Binbo immediately. They were told that no one from the medical units, villages, and communities is allowed to accept their interviews or answer their inquiries about the epidemic.

1. Epoch Times, January 23, 2023
2. Radio Free Asia, January 19, 2023