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article imageChina kicks out NY Times reporter after refusing to renew visa

By Yukio Strachan     Jan 2, 2013 in World
Beijing - A correspondent for The New York Times was forced to leave mainland China with his family after the country rebuffed attempts to renew his a visa, the newspaper said Monday.
According to the Wall Street Journal, The Times applied for Chris Buckley, a 45-year-old Australian who has worked as a correspondent in China since 2000, to be accredited to replace a correspondent who was reassigned, but the authorities did not act before Dec. 31, despite numerous requests. The Times said that forced Buckley, his partner and their daughter to fly to Hong Kong on Monday.
Normally, requests to transfer visas are processed in a matter of weeks or a couple of months.
The Times is also waiting for its new Beijing bureau chief, Philip P. Pan, to be accredited. Mr. Pan applied in March, but his visa has not been processed, the paper said.
The visa troubles come amid increased pressures on foreign journalists by the Chinese government, which is concerned over media scrutiny of its top leaders. Corruption is widely reported in China, but top leaders are considered off limits.
The newspaper said the day it published the results of a long investigation into the riches of the family of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, it found its English-language website and its new Chinese-language site were blocked within China, and they remain so.
According to the Guardian, Foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the piece "smears China's name and has ulterior motives", he later insisted that China's critics were attempting to destabilize the country and were "doomed to failure".
The Times isn't alone. Similar actions were taken against Bloomberg News last June. The authorities blocked the English-language site of Bloomberg News after it published a detailed investigation into the family riches of China’s new top leader, Xi Jinping. Chinese financial institutions say they have been instructed by officials not to buy Bloomberg’s computer terminals, a lucrative source of income for the company, the Times reported.
“I hope the Chinese authorities will issue him a new visa as soon as possible and allow Chris and his family to return to Beijing,” Jill Abramson, the executive editor of The Times, said in the statement. “I also hope that Phil Pan, whose application for journalist credentials has been pending for months, will also be issued a visa to serve as our bureau chief in Beijing.”
The newspaper reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on Buckley’s forced departure.
CBS News reported that the Times has six other accredited correspondents in China, and their visas were renewed for 2013 in a timely manner. David Barboza, the Shanghai bureau chief, who wrote the articles about Wen’s family, was among those whose visas were renewed.
The Committee to Protect Journalists reported Monday that Melissa Chan, an American correspondent working for the satellite channel Al-Jazeera, was forced to leave China in May, CBS writes. According to NPR, this was believed to have been the first such case in 14 years.
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