China expels Al Jazeera correspondent

May 8th, 2012 - 7:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 8 (IANS) China has expelled an American journalist working for Al Jazeera, a move that prompted the television network to shut its bureau in Beijing.

Al Jazeera closed its bureau in Beijing after Chinese authorities refused to renew its correspondent Melissa Chan’s press credentials and visa, or allow a replacement journalist, it said.

The Al Jazeera website said it has been requesting additional visas for correspondents for some time through the normal procedures but these have not been issued.

Referring to Melissa Chan, who has been Al Jazeera English’s China correspondent since 2007, it said that she filed nearly 400 reports during her five years in the country.

Washington Post said that Chan, a 31-year-old from California, left Beijing Monday on a flight to Los Angeles.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China described it as “the most extreme example of a recent pattern of using journalist visas in an attempt to censor and intimidate foreign correspondents”.

Their statement said “foreign news organizations, not the Chinese government, have the right to choose who works for them in China, in line with international standards”.

It was China’s first expulsion of a foreign journalist in 14 years.

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