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China Expels WSJ Reporter Who Wrote About President Xi Jinping's Cousin

Visa delays, detentions and suspected phone-bugging are among the challenges faced by foreign journalists in China, who say working conditions are getting worse with many reporting being watched and harassed.

AFP

Updated:August 30, 2019, 6:34 PM IST
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Beijing: The Chinese government has not renewed the press credentials of a foreign journalist who wrote an article about one of President Xi Jinping's cousins, the news organisation said on Friday.

It amounts to the effective expulsion of Chun Han Wong, a Singaporean national who has worked for the Wall Street Journal's Beijing bureau since 2014.

"We can confirm that Chinese authorities have declined to renew Chun Han's press credentials. We continue to look into the matter," a Dow Jones spokesperson told AFP.

Wong - together with fellow journalist Philip Wen - published a story in July detailing how Australian law-enforcement and intelligence agencies were probing the activities of Ming Chai, one of Xi's cousins.

The article was part of a wider investigation into organised crime, money-laundering and alleged Chinese influence-peddling.

Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying rejected the allegations at the time the report was published, saying, "I don't know where these journalists go to dig up this dirt." The foreign ministry did not reply when contacted by AFP on Friday.

Visa delays, detentions and suspected phone-bugging are among the challenges faced by foreign journalists in China, who say working conditions are getting worse with many reporting being watched and harassed.

Beijing bureau chief for BuzzFeed News Megha Rajagopalan was effectively expelled from China last year after she was unable to renew her visa. She had reported extensively from the restive northwestern region of Xinjiang prior to her expulsion.

A survey of 109 foreign journalists published in January "painted the darkest picture of reporting conditions inside China in recent memory", the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China said at its release.

The report said many journalists working in China have been threatened with visa delays, or issued with short-stay visas, which they believed were related to their coverage.

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