The Chinese authorities have forced the closure of the Beijing bureau of Al-Jazeera English by refusing to renew the journalist visa of its long-time correspondent Melissa Chan. Requests by colleagues have also been rebuffed.
It is the first expulsion of an accredited foreign correspondent in over a decade.
Chan was said by China‘s foreign ministry to have violated unspecified rules and regulations.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) noted that the decision to refuse Chan’s visa was due to dissatisfaction about some of Al-Jazeera’s content, including a documentary produced outside the country.
Chan, a US citizen and a member of the FCCC board, has been reporting from China’s capital since 2007.
The FCCC said: “This is the most extreme example of a recent pattern of using journalist visas in an attempt to censor and intimidate foreign correspondents in China.”
The New York-based press freedom body, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), called on China to reconsider.
Its Asia programme coordinator, Bob Dietz, said: “The refusal to renew Melissa Chan’s credentials marks a real deterioration in China’s media environment, and sends a message that international coverage is unwanted.”
- Al-Jazeera closes bureau after China bars reporter (vancouverdesi.com)
- China Expels Accredited Al-Jazeera Reporter (irrawaddy.org)
- Foreign correspondent expelled from China (abc.net.au)
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