2022 Beijing Winter Olympics Guidance for Journalists

Ahead of the start of the Beijing Winter Olympics, the Asian American Journalists Association has compiled a series of guides, resources and organizational stances to help inform journalists and their coverage.

AAJA advises journalists to: 

    • Consult with native speakers on the proper pronunciation and romanization or spelling of Asian and Pacific Islander language names and places. 
    • Verify athletes’ national team affiliations without making assumptions based on ethnicity or race. (See “American beats Kwan.”)
    • Avoid stereotypes or exotification of AAPI cultures.
    • Refer to our guidance on mindful reporting in coverage of Indigenous Pacific Islanders.

We will update this guidance as necessary throughout the Olympics.

Additional resources regarding press freedom issues during this year’s Olympics are listed below for reference and awareness. 

Press Freedom and Safety Guides 

The Committee to Protect Journalists has issued a Safety Advisory for covering the Beijing Olympic Winter Games here. Resources to report journalism safety incidents or press freedom violations during the Games are included. Within the advisory, they also reference their Digital Safety Kit for airport security and border crossings. Additional coverage can be found here

For Citizen Lab, Jeffrey Knockel conducted a cross-country analysis of the MY2022 Olympics app that is required for all attendees of this year’s games.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) issued guidance urging the press to protect themselves against surveillance in November 2021. Their report “The Great Leap Backwards of Journalism in China” is now available in 30 languages, ahead of the Games. 

For the International Journalists’ Network/International Center For Journalists, Joseph Cummins shared tips for covering the Beijing Winter Games, filed under their digital and physical safety section. This was originally published in journalism.co.uk.

Statements and Background

The Foreign Correspondents Club of China issued a statement in November, citing concern about the lack of transparency and clarity from the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (BOCOG) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in regard to Olympics-related reporting. A Twitter thread is also available here. (For the full statement and more anecdotes, you can reach out to fcccadmin@gmail.com.) 

The Overseas Press Club of America’s China Working Group signed onto FCCC’s statement.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) most recent statement, in conjunction with a coalition of 242 human rights NGOs, calls for increased diplomatic boycott of the Olympics. 

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) issued an open letter to Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee. Their original statement calling for full access to the Olympics is here

Amnesty International issued a statement that urged the world to use the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics as an opportunity to push for human rights improvements in China. This included guaranteeing media freedom and transparency in human rights due diligence policies and practices.   

Some #AAJAFamily Journalists to Follow for Expert Olympics Coverage 

We will continue to add to this list. This is not a comprehensive list of journalists to follow. Please share your coverage with us. Tag @aaja on Twitter and @aajaofficial on Instagram as you share your Olympics coverage.

Sally Ho (@_sallyho) is covering figure skating for the Associated Press.

Lindsey Wasson (@lindseywasson) is a photojournalist for Reuters.

Amy Qin (@amyyqin) is doing live coverage of the Winter Olympics for The New York Times. 

Chang W. Lee (@nytchangster on Twitter and Instagram) is taking photos for The New York Times. 

Sui-Lee Wee (@suilee) is covering the Winter Olympics for The New York Times. 

Qin, Lee and Wee’s coverage of the Games is happening almost two years after all American journalists with the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post were expelled from China.

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