China rebutted on Tuesday a biased and slanderous report issued by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China and said that it opposes ideological prejudice against China and fake news in the name of "press freedom".
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a news briefing that the so-called report intentionally stirs up trouble and "we have never recognized this organization".
He said the report is just some biased views of several Western media outlets and is a typical example of partial reporting, which is far from objective journalism.
The organization's annual report, issued on Monday, claimed that China used pandemic prevention measures "to limit foreign reporting in 2020, ushering in a rapid decline in media freedom".
China always welcomes foreign media and journalists covering news in the country based on law and regulations, and the country will continue to provide convenience and assistance, Wang said. He added, however, that China opposes behavior that breaches the professional ethics of the press.
Wang said that during the COVID-19 pandemic, China has helped over 100 foreign journalists and their families return to China, assisted foreign correspondents in conducting interviews at Beijing's Xinfadi wholesale market, the location of an outbreak in the city, and vaccination sites.
The country has also coordinated efforts for foreign journalists to interview staff members of the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the World Health Organization experts who came to China, he said.
Speaking of the pandemic containment measures, the spokesman said that it is because of China's strict pandemic prevention and control measures that foreign journalists in the country can report safely.
"What privileges do the foreign journalists have to not obey the pandemic prevention rules?" he asked.
The report tarnished China's quarantine measures as restrictions on journalists and made malicious assumptions about China's goodwill in terms of helping journalists and their families return to China, he added.
Wang said the United States suppressed Chinese media first, and Beijing was compelled to make a legitimate response.
China has been maintaining maximum restraint, he added.