China withholds visas for NYT, Bloomberg reportersBy AP News Dec 09, 2013 3:26PM UTC
BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities have been withholding residence visas for reporters working for The New York Times and Bloomberg in apparent retaliation for the agencies’ investigative stories on wealth accumulated by leaders’ families.
The move marks an intensifying of pressure on foreign journalists by the Chinese government, and if authorities do not soon start approving renewals for visas due to expire by the end of the year, it would effectively shut down the two organizations’ newsgathering operations in the country.
The Foreign Correspondents Club of China said in an emailed statement to members Monday that none of the correspondents working for The Times and Bloomberg in China have been able to renew their residence visas for next year. “The authorities have given no public explanation for their actions, leading to the impression that they have been taken in reprisal for reporting that displeased the government,” the club said in the statement.
A Bloomberg spokeswoman in Singapore declined to comment while The Times did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
China’s Foreign Ministry, which issues press credentials, and Beijing’s Public Security Bureau, which grants residence permits, did not respond to faxed lists of questions. The Foreign Ministry has said in previous comments on this issue that China’s treatment of foreign journalists is in line with its laws and regulations.
Last week while on his visit to China, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden publicly criticized how American journalists have been treated by the Chinese government and met with U.S. journalists working in Beijing.
The Times reported late last week that it and Bloomberg have nearly two dozen journalists in China whose visas are up for renewal by the end of the month and that Beijing has refused to act on them. In addition, the Times has been unable to obtain resident journalist visas for its China bureau chief Philip Pan and correspondent Chris Buckley.
The two news organizations have had their websites blocked in China since late last year after each published detailed investigative reports exposing the enormous wealth amassed by the relatives of Chinese leaders — including Chinese President Xi Jinping and former Premier Wen Jiabao.