采访/朱智善 编辑/张天宇 后制/萧宇
White House Concerned As U.S. Journalist Forced Out of China
Beijing-based New York Times (NYT) reporter
Austin Ramzy, has been forced to leave China,
after his visa renewal request was denied.
Austin became the second NYT correspondent in 13 months
that has had to leave China, because of visa problems.
A White House spokesman later made
a rare announcement about the incident.
They criticized the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
for “restricting the ability of journalists to do their work.”
This is clearly suppression of freedom of the press.
Voice of America (VOA) quoted Jay Carney, White House
press secretary, who made an announcement on January 30.
Mr. Carney said that the CCP impedes
foreign journalists from doing their job.
With “extended delays in processing journalist visas,
restrictions on travel to certain locations deemed
‘sensitive’ by Chinese authorities, and in some
cases, violence at the hands of local authorities”.
“These restrictions and treatment are not consistent with
freedom of the press—and stand in stark contrast with
U.S. treatment of Chinese and other foreign journalists.”
The White House statement was soon echoed
by many foreign journalists based in China.
They said the CCP commonly obstructs their work
by all possible means, not only in individual cases.
Austin Ramzy is known to be the second NYT reporter
obliged to leave China through denial of visa application.
Hu Liyun, International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
representative, Hong Kong and China region: “This is the
second U.S. reporter whose visa application was denied.
In fact there are many other U.S. journalists who
failed to get, or are still waiting for, their China visa.
We feel that the CCP regime seems to have
complaints over foreign journalist activities in China.
However, we don’t know what the real reason is for that.
We can only see many visa applications
have been delayed or even denied.
This has forced correspondents to leave the country.”
The White House statement also said that:
“We are very disappointed that New York Times reporter
Austin Ramzy was forced to leave China today, because
of processing delays for his press credentials”.
“We remain concerned that Mr. Ramzy, and
several other U.S. journalists, have waited
months, and in some cases years, for a decision
on their press credentials and visa applications.”
Edward Wong, another NYT reporter in Beijing,
tweeted on the day Mr. Ramzy left China.
Wong said that the CCP authority was making
futile efforts to control media reports globally.
It was doing this by blocking journalists’
visas, as well as overseas websites.
Hu Liyun: “Possibly those journalists’ reports
had expressed some criticism against the party.
Or perhaps it revealed real injustice in Chinese society.
These activities then caused difficulties with their visa.
We believe that the CCP regime makes decisions
about whether to approve a visa for a journalist
according to what they have reported.
Obviously, they are using working visa
as a tool to restrict freedom of the press.”
Zhu Xinxin, former editor, Hebei Provincial Radio: “The party
is especially nervous with foreign journalists in China.
It fears for the so-called ‘negative’
social impact because of their reports.
On the other hand, it cannot block
all of them outside the state.
Indeed the party is only willing to see positive
reports from foreign media for its own benefits.
Once foreign media or journalists report something
against its favor, the CCP will suppress them by
blocking their reports or denying visa applications.”
In addition to foreign Correspondents’ Club of China
and IFJ, many other journalists and media workers
also expressed their “disappointment, anger and
regret” towards this latest decision by the CCP.
Zhu Xinxin: “This not only violates freedom of the press
and international rules protecting journalists’ rights.
It also reflects how autocracy affects media and their reports.”
Hu Liyun, IFJ representative, highlighted it’s latest
report on Press Freedom in China and Hong Kong.
It shows that the working environment for
journalists has worsened during the past year.
CCTV has broadcast footages of “confessions”
by Weibo “Big V” commentator Xue Manzi,
and New Express journalist Chen Yongzhou.
Hu said that any media should not broadcast the footages
of these “confessions” before a court verdict was made.
This is regardless of whether the
defendant was detained or not.
That was in serious violation of professional
ethics,as well as international treaties.
Hu Liyun says that instead of news media,
CCTV was only a propaganda tool for the party.
Hu further called on UN Commission on Human Rights
to investigate the CCP suppression of press freedom.
This is to protect the working environment
of foreign journalists working in China.
Interview/ZhuZhiShan Edit/ZhangTianYu Post-Production/XiaoYu