Al Jazeera

Salah Negm of Al Jazeera English said: 'Just as China news services cover the world freely we would expect that same freedom in China for any Al Jazeera journalist'

Credit: Joi on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

Al Jazeera English has closed down its Beijing bureau, reporting that its correspondent for China Melissa Chan's request for renewal of her "press credentials" and visa was "refused" by authorities.

According to a report by the broadcaster, Chan has been its China correspondent for the past five years and "has filed nearly 400 reports" in that time.

Al Jazeera said in its report "it is continuing to request a presence in China".

The Guardian today also reported that "Chinese authorities have yet to make a statement about the closure of the bureau, but immigration officers say privately that Chan's visa has not been renewed because she violated regulations".

In its report Al Jazeera did not comment on the reasons given for the refusal of Chan's visa, but said it "will continue to work with the Chinese authorities in order to reopen our Beijing bureau".

Al Jazeera English's director of news Salah Negm added: "We've been doing a first class job at covering all stories in China.

"Our editorial DNA includes covering all stories from all sides. We constantly cover the voice of the voiceless and sometimes that calls for tough news coverage from anywhere in world.

"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.

"We are committed to our coverage of China. Just as China news services cover the world freely we would expect that same freedom in China for any Al Jazeera journalist."

In an article on its website the Committee to Protect Journalists called on China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to "immediately grant accreditation to Al Jazeera English reporters to work in China".

Bob Dietz of the Committee to Protect Journalistswas quoted by Al Jazeera as saying that the latest case marked "the first expulsion of a journalist since 1998".

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