Al-Jazeera English reporter asked to leave China

10 May 2012 15 h 01 min Comments Off

The Chinese government has expelled a TV reporter for the English-language channel of broadcaster al-Jazeera by not renewing her visa, the Wall Street Journal reported.

This China’s first known expulsion of a foreign journalist since 1998 led al-Jazeera to announce the shutdown of its English-language bureau in China, saying “it wasn’t cleared to bring in a replacement”. However, Salah Negm, director of news at Al Jazeera English, said in an article on the broadcaster’s website that the channel is “committed to the coverage of China,” “Al Jazeera Media Network will continue to work with the Chinese authorities in order to reopen the Beijing bureau.” Al Jazeera’s Arabic-language bureau in Beijing will continue to operate normally, said Ezzat Sabe Shahour, the bureau chief.

China government officials declined to renew the visa and accreditation of U.S. citizen Melissa Chan, who had been reporter for al-Jazeera English in China since 2007, the Journal said. A spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry said Chan’s visa hadn’t been renewed, because she had violated unspecified regulations. “We have already made the laws clear,” the Journal quoted him as saying.

A USA State Department spokesman said: “We’re disappointed in the Chinese government – in how the Chinese government decided not to renew her accreditation. To our knowledge, she operated and reported in accordance with Chinese law.”

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) suggested the ban was related to the airing of an Al Jazeera documentary in November on forced labor camps in China.

Source: agencies (09/05/2012)

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