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In this episode of Berkeley Talks, Berkeley Journalism Dean Geeta Anand and New York Times reporter and UC Berkeley alumnus Edward Wong discuss international reporting on China and the interplay among journalism, public opinion and government policy.
“I think everyone here wonders: What are the conditions like for a reporter covering China?” Anand asked Wong at the April 22 conversation.
“Well, I would say that people who have spent a long time in China, journalists who have spent many years or even decades there, often compare it to pendulums,” replied Wong. “Sometimes they’ll swing towards looser conditions, more opening by the government, allowing foreign journalists to work more freely there. Other times, it swings toward a tightening.”
“Right now,” continued Wong, “we’re in a period of tightening that I would say probably began sometime shortly after the 2008 Olympics and has gotten gradually tighter and really increased a lot under the current government run by President Xi Jinping, who is also the head of the Communist Party. But the Chinese government will say that they have reasons to tighten up controls on journalists, and part of their argument is that it’s because the Trump Administration in the last year or two really tried to limit some of the foreign journalists from China who are working in the U.S.”
Listen to the full conversation in Berkeley Talks episode #115: “Journalists on reporting in China and U.S.-China relations.”