By Horace Lu and Michael Ardaiolo
The Beijing Bureau of Al Jazeera English has been forced to shut down, because Chinese authorities have revoked the visa of Melissa Chan, its Chinese correspondent, and refused to allow any replacement.
Al Jazeera’s Arabic Service is not affected by Beijing’s decision.
“We hope China appreciates the integrity of our news coverage and our journalism. We value this journalist integrity in our coverage of all countries in the world,” says Salah Negm, AJE’s director of news.
Melissa Chan has been with Al Jazeera English since 2007. She has filed over 400 reports on China’s politics, economy, social issues and human rights. Her reports on China’s black jails, new criminal procedure law and many more have hit global headlines.
Chinese officials have “expressed unhappiness with the general editorial content on Al Jazeera English and accused Ms Chan of violating rules and regulations that they have not specified,” according to Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC).
The Chinese government has also expressed its anger over a documentary aired last November on this renowned international news channel, but Melissa Chan didn’t take part in making the documentary.
The FCCC says the Chinese government has adopted a new pattern to strain foreign journalists’ reports by threatening to revoke their visas.
In the recent Chen Guangcheng incident, Chinese police threatened to revoke journalists’ visas if they went to Chaoyang Hospital, where Chen has been staying, without permission.
There have been six previous cases of foreign reporters having their bureau’s visa application rejected or put on hold due to previous coverage of Chinese affairs.
You can and should follow Ms Chan on Twitter at @melissakchan. She has been an invaluable source of information during her time in China. She is now heading to Standford University where she was awarded the Knight Fellowship.
Read her own take on reporting in China.
Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China says it’s appalled by Chinese government’s decision to expel Al Jazeera English’s Melissa Chan
— Austin Ramzy (@austinramzy) May 8, 2012
— Ray Kwong (@raykwong) May 8, 2012
So sad @melissakchan of Al Jazeera was forced out of China. Great reporter, big loss for those of us who read her.
— That’s Shanghai (@ThatsShanghai) May 8, 2012
Let’s all honor Melissa by continuing to speak truth to power! China Expels Al Jazeera English-Language Channel nytimes.com/2012/05/08/wor…
— Mike Forsythe傅才德 (@PekingMike) May 8, 2012
It’s not you, @melissakchan, it’s us. And you, a little. Mostly you.
— The Relevant Organs (@relevantorgans) May 8, 2012
china appears to be trying to win the golden boot for own goals
— Bill Bishop (@niubi) May 8, 2012
The expulsion of @melissakchan is cowardly, childish and pathetic….just what we’ve come to expect from the Chinese government.
— Charlie Custer (@ChinaGeeks) May 8, 2012
Perhaps the government decided that they’d had enough of ball-busting investigative reporting on sticky subjects like secret black jails.