Chinese State Media Defend Expulsion of Al-Jazeera Reporter

Posted May 10th, 2012 at 2:10 am (UTC-5)
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Chinese state media are defending the government's decision earlier this week to expel Al-Jazeera reporter Melissa Chan, who is believed to be the first foreign correspondent in 14 years to be kicked out of the country.

A Thursday editorial in the Communist Party-affiliated Global Times acknowledged that authorities did not give a specific reason for denying the visa request and press credentials of Chan, who had been the network's only English-language reporter in China.

Instead, the editorial raised questions about Chan's journalistic integrity, quoting anonymous sources that said she had an “aggressive political stance” and a “tense relationship” with Chinese authorities who monitor foreign media.

China's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday gave little explanation for Chan's expulsion other than offering a warning that journalists must abide by “relevant Chinese laws and regulations.”

The move to expel Chan was met with widespread condemnation by other foreign correspondents and media rights organizations, who said it was an attempt to censor and intimate foreign media in China.

But the Global Times editorial said the Chinese government is not interfering with foreign journalists, calling it a “retrograde act” and “simply impossible.”

Chan had been strongly critical of poor reporting conditions in China and has documented several police attempts to stifle her news gathering. She sometimes also reported on human rights violations in China.

On Tuesday, Al-Jazeera said it had “no other choice” but to close its English-language bureau in China after the government failed to renew her visa or allow for someone to replace her.