News / Asia

China Expels Foreign Journalist, First Time in 14 Years

A picture of Al-Jazeera correspondent Melissa Chan is seen at their China bureau office, in Beijing May 8, 2012.
A picture of Al-Jazeera correspondent Melissa Chan is seen at their China bureau office, in Beijing May 8, 2012.
Stephanie Ho
BEIJING - China has expelled al-Jazeera English reporter Melissa Chan from the country, allegedly because of official anger over a documentary the channel produced in November. She is the first foreign correspondent ejected from China in 14 years.

Melissa Chan worked as al-Jazeera English’s China correspondent since 2007, filing reports on a wide variety of stories including disasters, ethnic unrest, illegal jails and corruption. 

But the story that is reported to have angered the Chinese government is one that she played no role in: a documentary that focused on forced labor in Chinese prisons and accused the Chinese government of state-sponsored slavery.

Some of the interviewees included former inmates of China's extensive prison labor system known as “laogai.”

The report asserted that unpaid prison labor, by inmates who are sentenced without trial, is contributing to China's economic boom.

Peter Ford, the vice president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China, says the documentary is one reason Chan's visa was not renewed.

"As far as the FCCC is concerned, it is unacceptable that the government should use editorial content as a criterion by which it grants or withholds journalist visas," he said.

Ford was among the reporters at Tuesday's regular Foreign Ministry briefing who asked the spokesman to clarify why the Chinese government did not renew Chan's visa.

Spokesman Hong Lei called on foreign reporters working in China to follow laws and regulations.

Hong says China also follows laws and regulations in dealing with foreign journalists.  He adds that journalists are clear on which regulations are broken, although, in what has become a standard Chinese answer, he gave no details or further information.

He also gave no answer when asked a follow-up question on where foreign journalists can learn what the government considers "relevant regulations," he said.

Ford says he is concerned that Beijing is apparently blaming Chan for breaking rules and regulations, without explaining what they find objectionable.

"Unless the Chinese government specifies which rules and regulations she broke, and use those as grounds for her expulsion, we are left with the impression that they kicked her out because of her coverage, because of her channel's coverage, of Chinese affairs.  So, that is certainly our fear, that the government is using this to intimidate correspondents and warn them that if they cover Chinese affairs in ways that the Chinese government does not like, that their visas may be a risk," said Ford.

Al-Jazeera English issued a statement expressing disappointment.  It says it is closing its Beijing bureau because China is not renewing Chan's accreditation or approving the application for a replacement correspondent.  Al-Jazeera's Arabic bureau in Beijing is unaffected.

This is the first expulsion of a foreign reporter from China since 1998, when the government did not renew visas for a Japanese reporter and a German correspondent.

You May Like

Captured IS Militants Explain Why They Fought

Fighters from Turkey, Syria tell VOA Kurdish Service what drew them to extremism, jihad More

Security Experts Split on Kenyan Barrier Wall

Experts divided on whether initiative aiming to keep out al-Shabab militants is long-awaited solution or misguided effort More

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Officials say they hope to turn Manila into the next Macau, which has long been Asia’s gambling hub More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More