A French journalist has been harassed and threatened by Chinese diplomats after a documentary he made on Tibet was broadcast.

Cyril Payen, a reporter for France 24 TV, said he had received phone calls and text messages from the Chinese embassy in Bangkok. He had been staying in the city after the screening of the video.

A female member of the embassy staff left a message demanding he attend a meeting at the embassy.

A few days after the broadcast, Chinese embassy personnel rushed into the France 24 headquarters in Paris to demand a meeting with Payen.

They accused the station's CEO, Marc Saikali, of broadcasting a deceitful report that was "riddled with errors" and demanded the removal of the documentary from the website. France 24 refused.

Payen entered Tibet furtively in early May to film a report on China's repression of indigenous people. Seven Days in Tibet was aired on 30 May.

"Such unacceptable behaviour might be expected from the mafia but not from senior diplomats," Reporters Without Borders (RWB) said of the Chinese reaction.

"It is acceptable for an embassy to express its disagreement with a report but it is completely unacceptable for diplomats stationed in France and Thailand to try to intimidate a news outlet into modifying editorial content, to harangue a journalist and to summon him with the intention of interrogating him."

"Everyone has advised me not to go to the Chinese embassy under any circumstances, that it would be dangerous for me," Payen said.

"The French foreign ministry and France 24 are following this case closely, but it hasn't been an easy time for me. I'm not getting more than an hour's sleep a night."

Foreign media are banned from entering Tibet and Chinese police harass foreign journalists "suspected of intending to defy their instructions", said RWB.

Cyril Payen
Cyril Payen (YouTube)