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China Decision Will Force French Journalist to Leave Country

  • VOA News

FILE - Journalist Ursula Gauthier, pictured in February 2003, published a story last month that suggested China was using the recent terrorist attacks in Paris to justify crackdowns on Muslim Uighurs in northwestern China.

FILE - Journalist Ursula Gauthier, pictured in February 2003, published a story last month that suggested China was using the recent terrorist attacks in Paris to justify crackdowns on Muslim Uighurs in northwestern China.

China has confirmed its decision not to renew the media credentials of a French reporter Beijing accuses of supporting terrorism, meaning she must now leave the country by the end of the year.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that Ursula Gauthier, Beijing correspondent for the weekly L'Obs magazine, is no longer "suitable" to be allowed to work in China. The ministry said China "will never support the freedom to champion terrorism."

China has demanded that Gauthier recant one of her stories if she wishes to stay in China. She has said she is prepared to leave.

Gauthier published a story last month that suggested China was using the recent terrorist attacks in Paris to justify crackdowns on Muslim Uighurs in northwestern China.

Chinese officials have said the article slandered government policies, and several Chinese state-run media outlets published editorials condemning the story.

L'Obs stood by its correspondent, saying in an editorial that Gauthier's eviction from China represents a "major incident" between China and France.

French officials have asked Chinese authorities to reverse their decision. The French Foreign Ministry said Friday it regretted that Gauthier's visa would not be renewed and said "France would like to remind all how important it is for journalists to be able to work everywhere in the world."

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