China forces New York Times journalist out of country

China Featured - January 1st, 2013

China has forced New York Times journalist, Chris Buckley, to leave the country two months after the paper reported details about the family finances of premier, Wen Jiabao.

Jill Abramson, the Times’ executive editor, said in a statement: “I regret that Chris Buckley has been forced to relocate outside of China despite our repeated requests to renew his journalist visa.”

China previously blocked access to both the Chinese- and English-language versions of the newspaper’s website after an October article alleged relatives of Wen had access to some $2.7bn in assets.

The day after the report was published, foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that it “smears China’s name and has ulterior motives”, adding that critics were attempting to destabilise the country and were “doomed to failure”. Lawyers also denied that the story was true.

Buckley, who is Australian, has lived in China for 15 years, spending 12 of those as a reporter, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Another reporter, Phil Pan, is also waiting to have his visa renewed, the Times said.