New York Times correspondent Chris Buckley, 45, who has worked in China since September 2000, formerly with Reuters, was denied a visa renewal and is now off the mainland. As NYT reports:
“I regret that Chris Buckley has been forced to relocate outside of China despite our repeated requests to renew his journalist visa,” Jill Abramson, the executive editor of The Times, said in the statement. “I hope the Chinese authorities will issue him a new visa as soon as possible and allow Chris and his family to return to Beijing. I also hope that Phil Pan, whose application for journalist credentials has been pending for months, will also be issued a visa to serve as our bureau chief in Beijing.”
No one quite knows why Buckley was singled out for visa denial. Also a concern for anyone who enjoys great journalism is the fact that Philip Pan, who’s tabbed to become the Times’s Beijing bureau chief, has yet to be officially accredited.
The temptation is to see Buckley’s exit as retaliation for the New York Times’s blockbuster on the personal finances of Wen Jiabao, but none other than Pan has denied the connection: (CORRECTION: Pan was clarifying “expelled” vs. “not renewed,” not denying there might be a connection to the Wen article.)
@helenpidd @chinabeat Not quite right. David Barboza was not expelled.
— Philip Pan (@panphil) December 31, 2012
David Barboza is the Shanghai bureau chief who wrote the Wen piece, and his visa was renewed without a problem. China, when it wants to, can be confounding.
Fellow journalists are bidding Buckley adieu, but others, such as NYT correspondent Edward Wong, remain optimistic:
@kaiserkuo @susanjakes We’re still hopeful Chris will get the visa transfer.
— Edward Wong (@comradewong) December 31, 2012
We’ll see. Stay tuned.
UPDATE, 11:18 am: Buckley to SCMP:
“It’s a complicated situation, and I am not sure if you will use the word ‘expel’. I did not. My visa expired today and I did not receive a new visa,” he said. “The situation is that I was working for Reuters until October, and then I took a new job with the New York Times. The visa that I was on was granted when I was working for Reuters, and I was in Beijing waiting for the Chinese authorities to grant me a new visa and accreditation to work for theNew York Times. As of today, there was no word of approval.”
UPDATE, 1/4/13, 3:31 pm: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has apparently given its story:
Chinese foreign min says it did not expel Chris Buckley or reject his accreditation: says Reuters did not submit paperwork to notify he left
— Ananth Krishnan (@ananthkrishnan) January 4, 2013
“We do not know who is Chris Buckley’s employer at present”, Mofa spokesperson said, adding that Reuters did not turn in his presscard.
— Ananth Krishnan (@ananthkrishnan) January 4, 2013
Times Reporter in China Is Forced to Leave Over Visa Issue (NY Times)
Good luck with the new job, Philip…as you know, the CCP thugs can be especially vile to those in China who claim Chinese ancestry regardless of nationality.
Part of the whole “wo men Zhong Guo ren…” tactic when intimidating/bargaining/celebrating/etc.
Your book is still one of my faves and recommended to many people…
Obviously, it was Barboza’s feature on Wen and his family that provoked the CCP dragon, causing it to spew fire all over the NYT’s operations in China by blocking it the same day the story came out. However, denying him a new visa would have made him a martyr, while at the same time lending further credibility to his many revelations.
Better to make his associates pay. Death by a thousand cuts and all that. Those crafty commies seem to be learning that more subtlety is required when dealing with the Western media than they have displayed in the past.
Welcome to 2013, folks. A chill is in the air, and it’s not just the winter weather.
As per your closing paragraph, I’m puzzled at the pundits who continue to push the “let’s just wait and see” angle when it comes to the new leadership and how committed they are to reforms: increased Internet crackdowns, increased maritime tensions, a more aggressive foreign policy, this visa stuff. Lots of other stuff that I can’t think of at the moment because of a New Year’s hangover.
Reformers they are not. Granted a big hullabaloo has been made over this new anti-corruption campaign, but aren’t these tightening Internet restrictions designed to protect most cadres from the country’s burgeoning ranks of amateur online gumshoes?
Ugh. Just ugh.
I am with you on this. There is little reason for optimism in my eyes right now, even if Xi is actually a decent person. He doesn’t control as much as people think…and its gonna need some major crisis for him to gain more leverage, again assuming he is really a closet reformer.
They said the same thing about Wen, but when push came to shove all his reformist policies got delayed and delayed…until now when they will be canceled. And the repression tightened and tightened at the same time…then again he had Hu next to him. Hu seems in retrospect to lack in creativity, putting it mildly.
Anyone else having problems opening up certain Wall Street Journal stories on China these days? China Real Time report still seems to be unblocked, but many features on China give me a “Safari can’t open the page” message, and then for the next several minutes the entire site suddenly becomes blocked. For instance, the story on the front page of their Asia site right now, “Chinese Fly Cash West, by the Suitcase,” cannot be opened. Is it just me? Seems like another more subtle approach to “containing” the dastardly Western media and other forces “hostile to China.”
I think a lot of foreign newspapers will pull out sooner rather than later… So, getting kicked out by the retards in Beijing is no biggie. Foreign newspapers should just go to the Republic of China and run their operations from there. Send in reporters on 3 month tourist visas and rotate them. They’d probably get better coverage by not having a journalists visa anyway.