Expelled French journalist warns of bleak future for media in China

(From AFP)

A French reporter forced to leave Beijing after she criticised government policy in violence-racked Xinjiang arrived home Friday after warning of dark days ahead for journalists working in China.

Ursula Gauthier (L) at the Beijing airport before taking her flight back to France on December 31

Ursula Gauthier (C) at the Beijing airport before taking her flight back to France on December 31

Beijing accused Ursula Gauthier, the China correspondent for France’s L’Obs news magazine, of supporting terrorism after she wrote an article questioning official comparisons between global Islamist violence and unrest in the homeland of the mainly Muslim Uighur ethnic minority.

It then refused to renew her credentials, obliging her to leave on December 31 when her visa expired.

Speaking from her Beijing home before departing, Gauthier said the future looked bleak for journalists in China.

“What happened with this small article about Xinjiang could happen with anything else,” she said.

“This could be really dangerous in the future.”

France and Europe should be “concerned about what is going on here, not because it is a journalist, not only because of the freedom of press, but also because it is about China and what China is doing to its minorities, and even its majority, the problem is the same,” she added.

After landing in France, Gauthier vowed to continue writing about China and condemned Beijing over her effective expulsion.

“This has been a month and a half of madness,” she told AFP at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

“We must not expel a journalist who was just doing her job, who just wrote an article, who knows the situation,” she said. Read More



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