Updated: 01/28/2014 17:34 | By Agence France-Presse

New York Times reporter to leave China as visa expires

A New York Times reporter in China is poised to leave the country after authorities did not issue him a new visa, in a case highlighting Beijing's controls on foreign journalists.


New York Times reporter to leave China as visa expires

The offices of The New York Times, pictured in New York on March 8, 2011 - by Emmanuel Dunand

The move comes amid protests from Washington and elsewhere that Beijing is seeking to retaliate against news organisations such as the Times and financial agency Bloomberg that have published investigations into the family wealth and connections of its top leaders.

The visa of Austin Ramzy, 39, a reporter who has been based in China for more than six years, expires Thursday.

He joined the New York Times from Time magazine in mid-2013 and the newspaper applied for a journalist visa for him in June. 

But the visa has not yet been granted and foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said it would not be ready before the end of the month -- effectively obliging Ramzy to leave. 

A Times article published Monday said that Ramzy "is expected to continue reporting on China from outside the mainland, and will continue to seek a long-term residency visa".

The move is the latest in a series of apparent measures by Beijing against foreign news outlets whose coverage it deems to have crossed one of its "red lines".

Both Bloomberg and the Times have had their websites blocked in China after they published investigations in 2012 into the family wealth of Xi and former premier Wen Jiabao, respectively.

Chris Buckley, a veteran Reuters China correspondent hired by the Times was forced to leave Beijing when his previous visa expired in December 2012. 

He has since been reporting on China from Hong Kong, and authorities have not yet issued him a visa.

The Times' Beijing bureau chief Philip Pan has been waiting for nearly two years for a journalist visa.

Paul Mooney, a reporter known for his coverage of human rights in China, was told by authorities last November after an eight-month wait that he would not receive a journalist visa to take up a new job with Reuters.

Qin said that visa and residency permits were an issue for China as a sovereign nation, and denied Ramzy was being expelled.

US Vice President Joe Biden raised the issue of China's treatment of foreign journalists privately with Chinese leaders, and also spoke out publicly during a visit to Beijing last month.

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