As reported in an earlier post, about two dozen New York Times and Bloomberg journalists have been waiting anxiously for China to renew their visas and allow them to continue reporting.
Now, the Wall Street Journal reports that at least two Times reporters are being forced to leave China–Beijing correspondent and former Reuters reporter Chris Buckley and Philip P. Pan, who was to have served as the new Beijing bureau chief, have failed to secure visas.
China became angry with the Times two years ago over a report about the wealth of former premier Wen Jiabao., and the Times website has been blocked in China ever since. But oddly,Times correspondent David Barboza has had his visa renewed and will remain in China. He’s the reporter who wrote the original story about Wen’s family fortune.
Reuters reported December 19 that China had renewed press accreditations for Bloomberg News and several Times reporters. No names were mentioned.
This news coincides with an odd Reuters report: An eccentric Chinese recycling tycoon named Chen Guangbiao says he wants to buy the New York Times – and he’ll be talking it over with a “leading shareholder” in New York on January 5.
Observers say such a sale is highly unlikely, but Chen says, “There’s nothing that can’t be bought for the right price.”
This is the same Chen who recently sprayed fire extinguisher liquid into his mouth to prove it was not toxic.