NEW YORK (AP) – A New York Times correspondent who has worked in China for more than a decade was forced to leave the country on Monday because his visa wasn’t renewed, the newspaper said.
Chris Buckley, a 45-year-old Australian, flew to Hong Kong with his family amid increased pressures on foreign journalists by the Chinese government, which is concerned over media scrutiny of its top leaders.
Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson said the newspaper was hopeful that the Chinese government would renew Buckley’s journalist visa soon so he and his family can return.
“I regret that Chris Buckley has been forced to relocate outside of China despite our repeated requests to renew his journalist visa,” she said.
She said she also hoped the Chinese would issue journalism credentials to Philip Pan, who is designated to serve as the newspaper’s bureau chief in Beijing.
The newspaper reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on the departure of Buckley, who has worked as a correspondent in China since 2000 and joined the Times in September.
The Times said six other correspondents in China had their visas for 2013 renewed in a timely manner, including David Barboza, who wrote articles about the finances of the family of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. The newspaper said the day it published the results of a long investigation, it found its English-language website and its new Chinese-language site were blocked within China, and they remain so.
Similar actions have been taken against Bloomberg News after it published a detailed report on the wealth of China’s new top leader, Xi Jinping, the Times said.
The Committee to Protect Journalists reported Monday that a correspondent for Al-Jazeera was forced to leave the country in May.
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