China denies New York Times reporter visa


The New York Times headquarters. Under Creative Commons licensing.

Tracy Chu, Staff Writer

The Chinese Foreign Ministry denied a reporter for The New York Times a visa Jan. 30 and he was forced to leave.

Despite the fact that journalist Austin Ramzy had been reporting for The Times in China for more than six years, the Chinese government rejected his visa, forcing him to leave.

The New York Times headquarters. Under Creative Commons licensing.
The New York Times headquarters. Under Creative Commons licensing.

The New York Times filed a journalist visa application for Ramzy in June of 2013, but they received no word of any progress until recently. The government had granted Ramzy a monthlong visa to remain in China until the end of Dec. 2013, but indicated that he would be forced to leave when it expired

Sophomore Kelly Liu said, “I don’t think the government should have pushed him out of China. He was there for journalistic reasons and he should be allowed to stay.”

Spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Qin Gang said that the Chinese government was processing the application “according to laws and regulations,” but would not be able to complete the process before Ramzy’s temporary visa expired.

Qin Gang added that the temporary visa was given “in a humanitarian spirit,” and that “there is completely no such thing as Austin Ramzy being expelled or forced to leave China.

Many deduce that the unprocessed visa was the latest sign of Chinese displeasure with the Times ever since its last coverage of government corruption in China involving the Chinese Communist Party.

Peter Ford, president of the FCCC, said “the lack of an official explanation invariably feeds suspicions that the government is punishing The New York Times for the content of its coverage.”

In addition, executive editor of The Times Jill Abramson said that in recent conversations, Chinese officials “pointedly objected to articles that explore the intersection between elite politics and the economy.”

Sophomore Marion Demailly said, “Even though the Chinese government has the power to force him out of the country, their reasons for doing so aren’t justified. I don’t think its fair that his visa was denied, especially since he was just reporting the truth about what was happening in China. People have a right to know what’s going on in the government.”

The Chinese goverment claimed the reason behind the visa rejection was that Ramzy had violated their visa regulations, but the Foreign Correspondent’s Club of China (FCCC) disputed the accusation. According to the Global Post, the FCCC stated that China’s claims towards Ramzy were “disingenuous.”

The FCCC also said that it “strongly regrets [Ramzy] has been forced to leave,” and that China’s behavior “falls well short of international standards.

Senior Iris Choi said, “It’s wrong that the Chinese forced him out, and they shouldn’t have done that. They didn’t have a good reason behind it, and it isn’t right.”

Ramzy is not the only journalist who can no longer report from mainland China, however, as the Chinese had pushed various other newspaper correspondents out of the country in the past.

Chris Buckley, another reporter for the Times, left China at the end of 2012 when the journalist visa issued to him expired. Although he applied for another, the Chinese government has not granted him another one since, and Buckley currently reports from Hong Kong.

Although forced to leave mainland China, Ramzy is expected to continue reporting on China from Taiwan, and will continue to seek out a long-term residency visa.