Another New York Times reporter is expected to leave China after not having his visa renewed. This is the latest in a series of expulsions of journalists from the country following unfavorable coverage in the American press.
Austin Ramzy is the second reporter for the Times to not have his work visa renewed by the Chinese government following a reporter by the publication in 2012 about then-Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. The company has not been able to assign journalists to its Beijing bureau or transfer the visas of reporter hired from other publications since then. Access to the Times's website was also blocked within the country.
At a regular briefing a spokesperson for the country's Foreign Ministry said that, "There is completely no such thing as Austin Ramzy being expelled or forced to leave China, as reported by some media," and that "The issuance of visas and residency permits is a matter that only China as a sovereign nation can determine." That sounds innocent enough, but now imagine the spokesperson saying the same thing while elongating his syllables and moving in slow-motion sarcastically.
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded sharply to the situation, saying, "These restrictions and treatment are not consistent with freedom of the press and stand in stark contrast with U.S. treatment of Chinese and other foreign journalists." Vice President Joe Biden also brought up the issue during his visit to the country last month.
Ramzy boarded a flight to Taiwan on Thursday, where he will continue to report on the country. His colleague Chris Buckley, forced out in 2012, has been reporting from Hong Kong since his own visa expired. Bloomberg News has had similar problems with the Chinese government, allegedly tempering its own reporting in order to avoid the government's ire.