Reporters Without Borders said it is outraged by the way Chinese diplomatic personnel have harassed and threatened French journalist Cyril Payen, a reporter for the French TV news station France 24, since the station broadcast his documentary “Seven days in Tibet” on 30 May.
A few days after it was broadcast, Chinese embassy personnel went to the TV channel’s headquarters in Paris to demand the documentary’s withdrawal from its website. The Chinese embassy in Bangkok then threatened him by telephone after he arrived in Thailand.
“Such unacceptable behaviour might be expected from the mafia but not from senior diplomats,” Reporters Without Borders said.
“It is acceptable for an embassy to express its disagreement with a report. But it is completely unacceptable for diplomats stationed in France and Thailand to try to intimidate a news outlet into modifying editorial content, to harangue a journalist and to summon him with the intention of interrogating him.
“Such methods are undoubtedly normal in China, and that is regrettable, but they have no place in a free country. The telephone threats that these diplomats made against a French journalist expose them to the possibility of judicial proceedings.
“We urge the French authorities to summon the representatives of the Chinese embassy in Paris in order to protest against this unacceptable harassment. The French authorities must condemn the Chinese government’s use of such aggressive methods with a French journalist and their violation of his freedom of information.”