FCC Statement - China Government Not to Renew the Journalist Visa of al Jazeera Correspondent
8 May 2012
Mr Song Zhe
Office of The Commissioner of
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of
The People's Republic of China in the HKSAR
42 Kennedy Rd
We write regarding the unfortunate decision by relevant authorities of your Government not to renew the journalist visa of Melissa Chan, the al Jazeera correspondent in Beijing.
This is the first such ejection of a foreign correspondent in many years and appears to be a serious escalation of an already worrisome crackdown on reporters covering China.
Objecting to bad news by punishing journalists and news organizations -- thereby creating even more bad news -- is a flawed and self-defeating response that should have no place in a strong and modern nation.
The Foreign Correspondents' Club, Hong Kong, strongly opposes the decision not to grant Ms Chan her visa, and we call on the Central People's Government to stop the ongoing suppression of journalists and, as a matter of urgency, to reverse course and allow Ms Chan to continue her widely recognized reporting on events in China.
Anna Healy Fenton