French Journalist Leaves China after Being Forced Out

St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), January 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

French Journalist Leaves China after Being Forced Out


BEIJING * A French journalist left China after being denied press credentials and facing heavy criticism from the Foreign Ministry and state media over her reporting.

Ursula Gauthier, a longtime journalist for the French news magazine L'Obs, left on a flight out of Beijing shortly after midnight Friday.

She was the first foreign journalist forced to leave China since 2012, when American Melissa Chan, then working for Al Jazeera in Beijing, was expelled.

The Chinese government refused to renew Gauthier's press credentials, without which she could not obtain a new visa. It demanded that she apologize publicly and express contrition over what it said was anti-Chinese bias.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Monday that Gauthier was no longer "suitable" to be allowed to work in China because she had supported "terrorism and cruel acts" that killed civilians and refused to apologize for her words.

Gauthier said Thursday that she would never apologize for what she wrote, even if it meant not returning to China. She earlier called the accusations absurd and said China should prosecute her if it truly believed she supported terrorism.

The French foreign ministry issued a statement of regret over China's refusal to renew Gauthier's visa, while the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China said it was "appalled" by the decision and expressed concern that the government was using the accreditation and visa process to threaten foreign journalists. …

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