Talk at the Library: Reporting From China
February 11, 2021 — After five years on the ground in China, SRF correspondent Pascal Nufer recently returned to Switzerland. He brings back mixed feelings, but also a fascination for the huge and diverse country he called home. He discusses his experiences with NZZ's Matthias Kamp, a once and future correspondent from China.
Our key takeaways
Working conditions for foreign journalist in China have become more difficult and restricted under President Xi Jinping since 2013. Chinese interview partners who previously talked more freely are increasingly hesitant.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, manay journalists were not able to enter China again for their work. The Chinese government may take advantage of the situation to have less foreign journalists in the country.
The narrative about China in Switzerland is becoming more critical and negative. There have been limited efforts in Europe to understand China properly to react with adequate strategies towards China.
China journalism is not only about politics. Often stories about humans get forgotten but are equally important.
Repressive communication within China could become a danger to the Chinese government because there is an increasing hunger of young Chinese and rising middle class Chinese to speak more freely.
Contributed by Gen A 2020 Alumna Lucia Toth
Pascal Nufer works for the Swiss radio and TV broadcasting company Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF). For five years, until 2019, he worked as SRF East Asia correspondent based in Shanghai. Before, he worked as a freelancer for SRF, the Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), and the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) based in Bangkok. During his 25-year career as journalist, he has reported for more than fifteen years from Asia, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Southeast Asia and North Korea. Pascal is the author of the book Faszination China – Mythen, Macht und Menschen, published this July.
Matthias Kamp is head of the Asia team at the economics department of the Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ). Before joining NZZ in January, he worked for the German business magazine WirtschaftsWoche, part of the HandelsblattGroup in Düsseldorf. Among other positions he was WirtschaftsWoche’s correspondent in Singapore (1997-2002) and Beijing (2007-2012). Matthias holds a degree in Sinology and economics from the universities of Trier in Germany and Shanghai.