After an anxious and prolonged delay, several western journalists who faced expulsion from China announced receiving press cards from the Chinese government on Thursday, allowing them to apply for visas to stay in the country.
Press credentials were renewed for all Bloomberg News journalists and some New York Times journalists who are currently awaiting visas, according to reports.
The news marks one significant step toward the foreign journalists obtaining their residence visas after weeks of tense uncertainty rising from a stand-off between the Chinese government and foreign media outlets.
US Vice President Joe Biden stepped in to address the issue on behalf of foreign journalists waiting in limbo during his visit to Beijing, telling president Xi Jinping that the expulsion of journalists would result in serious repercussions for China.
Journalists from the New York Times and Bloomberg specifically faced retaliation as a result of their investigative reports revealing secret wealth accumulated by family members of president Xi Jinping and former premier Wen Jiabao as well as the follow-up on Wen’s daughter and her ties to JPMorgan Chase.
According to the Washington Post, all of Bloomberg’s foreign staff in China received press cards but only some from the Times, news that may be correlated to Bloomberg’s recent surrender to censorship in an effort to stay in the country.
The Post reports that even journalists currently holding press cards don’t consider themselves safe from expulsion, and won’t until their visas have been physically stamped into their passports.