THREE Chinese journalists based in India will be forced to leave the country by the end of the month, as the Indian government has denied them visa extensions.
The journalists all work for China’s state-owned news agency, Xinhua – Wu Qiang and Lu Tang were the respective heads of the agency’s bureaus in New Delhi and Mumbai, while She Yonggang was a reporter based in Mumbai.
On Sunday, an Indian official said that Xinhua could send their replacements, but refused to reveal the government’s reasons for not granting the extensions.
However, according to its sources, the journalists had gained “adverse attention of security agencies” for supposedly carrying out activities “beyond their journalistic brief”, reported the Hindustan Times.
The source said that the Mumbai-based journalists had visited Tibetan camps in Karnataka last year using aliases.
Foreign visitors to these settlements are required to have a “protected area permit” (PAP).
The paper’s source went on to say: “The journalists had not taken the PAP for visiting the camps but their real identities were detected when they reached there.”
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A senior government source, though, told The Hindu: “The three journalists had overstayed their visa and subsequently they had received several visa extensions. So we asked them to go back as it is no longer possible to give them visa extensions.”
India’s decision to deny the journalists’ visas, which is generally known as a bureaucratic move used to expel foreign journalists, is a first and may further aggravate brewing tensions in relations between the two countries.
Last month, China refused to support India’s application for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group at a meeting in Seoul.
Additional reporting by Associated Press