March 1 (UPI) -- Harassment of foreign correspondents and their sources has become increasingly common in China amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China.
The Beijing-based organization and the Shanghai Foreign Correspondents' Club said in a new report issued Monday that journalists are being blocked from taking pictures or having their equipment and documents confiscated.
According to the survey of 150 of 220 correspondent members, 42% of respondents said they were asked to leave or turned away when authorities cited health and safety concerns.
NPR's Emily Feng said authorities in eastern Shandong Province surrounded her and required her to take a COVID-19 test before she left the region. Officers released her after she showed negative test results in her possession, the correspondents' club report said.
Other journalists confirmed physical violence was not infrequent among local authorities.
Mathias Boelinger, a German television correspondent, said he was ""manhandled and dragged into a facility" during a 2020 trip to Inner Mongolia. Boelinger was released after agreeing to leave the region, according to the survey.
Boelinger was one of several correspondents who said their sources were being intimidated or harassed. Respondents said they avoid calling sources directly on their phone and that sources were sometimes detained.
Boelinger said his interviewees were threatened or detained for speaking to foreign reporters.
China also may be requiring reporters to file more visa-related paperwork than in 2019.
BBC News' John Sudworth said he has had six new visas since December 2019. Sudworth said the paperwork represents a "huge amount of hassle over a 13-month period."
"Time lost in administration, for example," he said.
Other journalists were ordered in Wuhan and Beijing to delete street footage "with no proper explanation."
China's increasing restrictions against reporters come at a time when it is taking bolder moves against media.
Last month, Beijing banned the BBC from broadcasting after the news service reported first-hand accounts of systemic rape in Xinjiang internment camps.
Former victim Tursunay Ziawudun told the BBC she was gang raped and watched other women being taken away "every night" during imprisonment. Analysts have said her account aligns with those of others.