Al-Jazeera English Reporter Forced to Leave China

Al-Jazeera Newsroom 2011

The country's first known expulsion of a foreign journalist since 1998 led the news network to shut down its English-language bureau in China.


The Chinese government has effectively expelled a TV reporter for the English-language channel of broadcaster al-Jazeera by not renewing her visa, the Wall Street Journal reported.

China's first known expulsion of a foreign journalist since 1998 led al-Jazeera to announce the shutdown of its English-language bureau in China, saying it wasn't cleared to bring in a replacement.

Amid a more tense political climate in China, state officials declined to renew the visa and accreditation of U.S. citizen Melissa Chan, who had reported for al-Jazeera English from China since 2007, the Journal said.

A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry said Chan's visa hadn't been renewed, because she had violated unspecified regulations. "We have already made the laws clear," the Journal quoted him as saying.

A State Department spokesman said: "We're disappointed in the Chinese government - in how the Chinese government decided not to renew her accreditation. To our knowledge, she operated and reported in accordance with Chinese law."

Foreign reporters whose work rubs the Chinese government the wrong way sometimes face difficulty re-entering the country. But the last known case of journalists being kicked out happened in 1998 when a Japanese and a German print reporter were pushed out on separate charges of "possessing state secrets," the Journal said.