Newspaper article International New York Times

China Expels Journalist over Article on Terrorism

Newspaper article International New York Times

China Expels Journalist over Article on Terrorism

Article excerpt

The reporter, Ursula Gauthier, had written an article criticizing Beijing's attempt to link the Paris attacks to ethnic violence in China's northwest.

China's Foreign Ministry has said that a French journalist would be expelled from the country for writing an article about ethnic violence in China's northwest, one that the government viewed as sympathetic to terrorism.

In her Nov. 18 article for the French newsweekly L'Obs, the reporter, Ursula Gauthier, discussed the terrorist attacks that had killed 130 people in Paris several days earlier, and she criticized the Chinese government's attempt to link them to the intermittent violence in the Xinjiang region of China. She said the attacks in Xinjiang, often carried out by members of the Muslim Uighur minority, had "nothing in common" with the Paris killings and stemmed from China's own hard-line policies toward the Uighurs.

In a statement on Saturday, Lu Kang, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said that because Ms. Gauthier had failed to apologize for the article, "which incited the outrage of the Chinese people," it was "not suitable for her to continue working in China."

"China has consistently safeguarded the legal right of foreign news organizations and foreign correspondents to report in the country," Mr. Lu said. "But it absolutely does not tolerate the freedom to embolden terrorism."

Ms. Gauthier, who has reported from Beijing for L'Obs since 2009, said she was told on Friday that unless she apologized, she would have to leave China on Dec. 31, when her visa and accreditation expire.

"What can you say to such an absurd thing?" Ms. Gauthier said on Saturday by telephone. "They are not indicting me, they are just expelling me and trashing my name. So it is only rhetoric, that's all. They don't believe a word of what they say. …

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