China Kicks Out French Journalist Over Coverage of Terrorism

Ursula Gauthier has been working in China for the French newsmagazine L’Obs. (L'Obs via AP)
Ursula Gauthier has been working in China for the French newsmagazine L’Obs. (L’Obs via AP)

China didn’t like Ursula Gauthier’s reporting — so it is kicking her out of the country.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a written statement Saturday that the Beijing correspondent for French news magazine L’Obs would not be issued press credentials for 2016, effectively expelling her.

Gauthier drew Beijing’s ire country by writing an essay that questioned the Chinese government’s rhetoric on terrorism.

In the statement, Lu Kang, a spokesperson for the Foreign Ministry, said Gauthier was no longer “suitable” for her job in China and that her reporting “emboldened” terrorists.

Gauthier is the first foreign journalist to be booted from China since 2012, when Al Jazeera’s Melissa Chan was forced to leave after doing a series of stories on secret prisons. Journalists for the New York Times and Bloomberg News were also denied visas after publishing prize-winning stories about the wealth of China’s top leaders and their families. (Both news organizations have since been issued new visas.)

The Foreign Correspondents Club of China, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the French Embassy in Beijing have all expressed concern about the case.

Gauthier, a veteran journalist, has been in Beijing’s crosshairs since November, when she wrote an essay about China’s response to the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris.

The piece suggested Beijing’s expression of solidarity post-Paris attacks had “ulterior motives,” namely a desire to get the international support for its claim that violence in China’s Xinjing Uighur Autonomous Region is linked to a global war on terrorism.

Beijing maintains that violent unrest in Xinjiang is linked to international terrorist groups and often accuses foreign governments — and foreign reporters — of having a “double standard” on terrorism.

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SOURCE: The Washington Post