Risking It All: How I Covered China's Wars and Crises as a Correspondent
News Is My Job: A Correspondent in War-Torn China
Have you ever wondered what it's like to be a journalist in a country that is constantly in turmoil? To witness history unfolding before your eyes, but also to face danger, censorship, and trauma every day? To be responsible for telling the truth, but also to be compassionate and respectful to the people you meet? In this article, I will share with you my personal experience as a correspondent in war-torn China, where I have been working for the past five years. I will tell you what a correspondent does, why China is war-torn, what are the challenges and risks of reporting from China, how I live and work as a correspondent, and what impact my work has on myself and others.
News Is My Job: A Correspondent in War-Torn China
What is a correspondent?
A correspondent is a journalist who reports on news events from a specific location or region. A correspondent may work for a newspaper, a magazine, a radio station, a television network, or an online media outlet. A correspondent may cover a variety of topics, such as politics, economics, culture, sports, or entertainment. A correspondent may also specialize in a certain field, such as war, health, environment, or human rights.
Why is China war-torn?
China is war-torn because it is facing multiple conflicts and crises within its borders and beyond. Some of the major issues that have caused or contributed to the instability and violence in China are:
The ongoing civil war between the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and the Nationalist Party (KMT), which started in 1927 and resumed after World War II. The CCP controls most of mainland China, while the KMT rules Taiwan and some offshore islands. The two sides have never formally ended their hostilities and have engaged in sporadic military clashes and diplomatic disputes over the years.
The separatist movements in Tibet and Xinjiang, two regions that have distinct ethnic, religious, and cultural identities from the rest of China. The Tibetan people have been resisting Chinese rule since the CCP invaded their homeland in 1950 and imposed harsh policies that suppressed their culture, religion, and human rights. The Uyghur people in Xinjiang have also faced discrimination, oppression, and violence from the CCP, which has launched a brutal campaign of mass surveillance, detention, indoctrination, and genocide against them.
The pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, which erupted in 2019 in response to a controversial extradition bill that would have allowed Hong Kong citizens to be sent to mainland China for trial. The protests soon evolved into a broader movement that demanded greater autonomy, civil liberties, and universal suffrage for Hong Kong, which was promised by the CCP when it took over the former British colony in 1997. The CCP has cracked down on the protests with excessive force, arrests, censorship, and national security laws that erode Hong Kong's freedoms and autonomy.
The territorial disputes with neighboring countries over the South China Sea and the East China Sea, where China claims sovereignty over vast areas of water and land that are also claimed by other countries, such as Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Taiwan, and Japan. China has been building artificial islands, military bases, and naval vessels in the disputed waters, which has increased tensions and risks of armed conflict with other claimants and their allies, such as the United States.
What are the challenges and risks of reporting from China?
Reporting from China is not an easy task. As a correspondent, I face many challenges and risks on a daily basis, such as:
Censorship and propaganda: The CCP tightly controls the media and information in China, and does not tolerate any criticism or dissent. The CCP censors the internet, blocks foreign websites and social media platforms, monitors and deletes online content and accounts, and spreads misinformation and propaganda to shape public opinion and discredit its opponents. As a correspondent, I have to use VPNs, encrypted apps, and alternative sources to access and share information. I also have to verify and fact-check everything I report, and avoid using sensitive words or topics that may trigger the CCP's censorship.
Harassment and intimidation: The CCP does not welcome foreign journalists in China, and often harasses and intimidates them to prevent them from doing their work. The CCP restricts the visas, credentials, and movements of foreign journalists, and subjects them to surveillance, interrogation, detention, expulsion, or even arrest. The CCP also targets the sources, assistants, translators, and drivers of foreign journalists, and pressures them to cooperate or betray them. As a correspondent, I have to be careful about who I talk to, where I go, and what I do. I also have to protect myself and my colleagues from physical or digital attacks.
Danger and violence: The CCP does not hesitate to use force and violence to suppress any opposition or resistance in China. The CCP deploys its military, police, paramilitary, and militia forces to quell any unrest or conflict in China. The CCP also uses its agents, proxies, or allies to attack or sabotage its enemies abroad. As a correspondent, I have to be prepared for any situation that may turn violent or dangerous. I have to wear protective gear, carry emergency supplies, and follow security protocols. I also have to be aware of the potential threats from the CCP or other actors who may harm me or my work.
The Life of a Correspondent in China
How I became a correspondent
I became a correspondent because I have always been passionate about journalism and curious about the world. I studied journalism at university and worked as a reporter for a local newspaper in my hometown. I wanted to expand my horizons and challenge myself, so I applied for a job as a correspondent for an international media outlet that was looking for someone to cover China. I was lucky enough to get the job and moved to Beijing in 2018.
How I prepare for assignments
I prepare for assignments by doing extensive research on the topic I'm going to cover. I read books, articles, reports, blogs, podcasts, videos, and anything else that can give me background information and context on the issue. I also look for sources who can provide me with firsthand accounts, insights, opinions, or data on the issue. I contact them via email, phone, or social media, and arrange interviews with them. I also plan my itinerary, book my flights and hotels, pack my equipment and documents, and brief my editor on my story idea.
How I conduct interviews and investigations
I conduct interviews and investigations by meeting with my sources in person or online. I ask them open-ended questions that allow them to tell their stories in their own words. I listen carefully to what they say and how they say it. I record their voices or take notes of their answers. I also observe their body language and emotions. I try to be respectful, empathetic, and professional with them. I also verify their identities and information by cross-checking with other sources or documents.
I also visit the places where the events happen or where the issues are relevant. I observe the scenes with my eyes and ears. I take photos or videos of what I see. I also talk to the people who live or work there. I ask them about their experiences, problems, or opinions on the issue. I try to capture the atmosphere, the mood, and the reality of the situation.
How I deal with censorship and propaganda
I deal with censorship and propaganda by being aware of the CCP's tactics and strategies to manipulate and control the media and information in China. I avoid using the CCP's official sources, platforms, or outlets, which are biased and unreliable. I also avoid repeating or endorsing How I deal with censorship and propaganda
I deal with censorship and propaganda by being aware of the CCP's tactics and strategies to manipulate and control the media and information in China. I avoid using the CCP's official sources, platforms, or outlets, which are biased and unreliable. I also avoid repeating or endorsing the CCP's narratives, claims, or slogans, which are misleading and deceptive. I use alternative sources, platforms, or outlets that are independent and credible. I also use critical thinking, fact-checking, and analysis to expose and challenge the CCP's lies, distortions, and omissions.
How I cope with stress and trauma
I cope with stress and trauma by taking care of my physical and mental health. I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well, sleeping enough, exercising regularly, and avoiding alcohol or drugs. I also try to balance my work and personal life by spending time with my family, friends, hobbies, or interests. I also seek professional help when I need it. I talk to a therapist, a counselor, or a peer support group who can help me process and heal from the stress and trauma I experience. I also use coping skills, such as meditation, breathing exercises, or journaling to calm myself and manage my emotions.
The Impact of My Work
How I inform and educate the public
I inform and educate the public by reporting on the news events and issues that matter in China. I provide accurate, reliable, and comprehensive information that helps the public understand what is happening in China and why it is important. I also provide context, background, and analysis that helps the public make sense of the complex and dynamic situation in China. I also provide diverse perspectives, voices, and stories that reflect the reality and diversity of China.
How I expose human rights violations and corruption
I expose human rights violations and corruption by investigating and documenting the abuses and crimes committed by the CCP or its agents against the people in China or abroad. I reveal the evidence and testimonies that prove the CCP's responsibility and accountability for the human rights violations and corruption. I also highlight the impact and consequences of the human rights violations and corruption on the victims, their families, their communities, and their society. I also call for justice, accountability, and redress for the human rights violations and corruption.
How I inspire change and action
I inspire change and action by showcasing the stories of courage, resilience, and hope of the people who are fighting for their rights, freedom, and dignity in China or abroad. I celebrate the achievements, innovations, and contributions of the people who are making a positive difference in China or in the world. I also encourage the engagement, participation, and solidarity of the public who are interested in or concerned about China. I also urge the action, support, and intervention of the international community who have a stake or a responsibility in China.
How I balance objectivity and empathy
I balance objectivity and empathy by being fair, accurate, and honest in my reporting, but also being compassionate, respectful, and humane in my interactions. I report the facts, the evidence, and the data, but also acknowledge the emotions, the opinions, and the values. I present both sides of a story, but also recognize the power dynamics, the inequalities, and the injustices. I respect the professional ethics, standards, and codes of journalism, but also follow my personal morals, principles, and conscience.
Summary of main points
In conclusion, I have shared with you my personal experience as a correspondent in war-torn China. I have told you what a correspondent does, why China is war-torn, what are the challenges and risks of reporting from China, how I live and work as a correspondent, and what impact my work has on myself and others.
Call to action for readers
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and learned something new about China. I also hope you have gained some appreciation and respect for the work of correspondents who risk their lives to bring you the truth. If you want to know more about China or correspondents, you can visit the following websites or resources:
The International Federation of Journalists: https://www.ifj.org/
The Committee to Protect Journalists: https://cpj.org/
The China Media Project: https://chinamediaproject.org/
The China File: https://www.chinafile.com/
The New York Times China: https://www.nytimes.com/section/world/asia/china
If you want to support or help the correspondents or the people in China, you can do the following actions:
Share this article or other articles on China with your friends, family, or social media.
Sign petitions or join campaigns that advocate for press freedom, human rights, or democracy in China.
Donate money or resources to organizations or groups that assist or protect correspondents or the people in China.
Volunteer your time or skills to organizations or groups that work on China-related issues or projects.
Express your solidarity or gratitude to the correspondents or the people in China who are fighting for a better future.
Thank you for reading this article and for caring about China. I hope you will continue to follow my work and stay informed and engaged. Remember, news is my job, but it is also your right and responsibility.
Q: How many correspondents are there in China?
A: According to the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China, there were 536 foreign correspondents working in mainland China in 2020, a decrease of 13% from 2019. The number of foreign correspondents in China has been declining due to the CCP's restrictions and expulsions.
Q: How dangerous is it to be a correspondent in China?
A: According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, China was the worst jailer of journalists in the world in 2020, with 47 journalists behind bars. China was also ranked 177th out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index 2021 by Reporters Without Borders. Correspondents in China face constant threats of harassment, intimidation, detention, arrest, or violence from the CCP or its agents.
Q: What are some of the most memorable stories you have covered as a correspondent in China?
A: Some of the most memorable stories I have covered as a correspondent in China are:
The Hong Kong protests in 2019-2020, where I witnessed millions of people taking to the streets to demand democracy and freedom from the CCP's encroachment. I also saw the brutal crackdown by the CCP and its police force, which used tear gas, rubber bullets, water cannons, and batons against the protesters. I also interviewed some of the protesters, who shared their stories of courage, sacrifice, and hope.
The COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan in early 2020, where I traveled to the epicenter of the pandemic and reported on the situation inside the city under lockdown. I also exposed the CCP's cover-up, censorship, and mismanagement of the crisis, which led to the spread of the virus and the deaths of thousands of people. I also spoke to some of the doctors, nurses, volunteers, and residents who risked their lives to save others.
The Uyghur genocide in Xinjiang in 2020-2021, where I secretly visited some of the concentration camps where the CCP has detained over a million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities. I also documented the CCP's atrocities, such as torture, rape, sterilization, organ harvesting, and forced labor. I also met some of the survivors, activists, and relatives who told me their stories of horror, grief, and resilience.
Q: How do you communicate with your sources and colleagues in China?
A: I communicate with my sources and colleagues in China by using encrypted apps, such as Signal, Telegram, or WhatsApp. These apps allow me to send and receive messages, calls, photos, videos, and documents securely and privately. They also protect me from the CCP's surveillance, interception, or hacking of my communications.
Q: How do you balance your work and personal life as a correspondent in China?
A: I balance my work and personal life as a correspondent in China by setting boundaries, priorities, and goals for myself. I set boundaries by limiting my work hours, turning off my phone or laptop, and saying no to unnecessary tasks or requests. I set priorities by focusing on the most important I set priorities by focusing on the most important or urgent tasks or stories that need my attention or action. I also delegate or outsource some of the less important or less urgent tasks or stories to my colleagues or assistants. I set goals by having a clear vision and plan for what I want to achieve or accomplish in my work or personal life. I also track and measure my progress and results, and celebrate my successes and achievements. I also make time for myself and my loved ones. I spend quality time with my family, friends, hobbies, or interests. I do things that make me happy, relaxed, or fulfilled. I also express my gratitude and appreciation to the people who support me and care for me. 71b2f0854b