China says New York Times reporter broke visa rules, will leave

The sun peaks over the New York Times Building in New YorkChina’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday that a China-based reporter for the New York Times broke rules on residence visas and would be leaving the country before the end of the week, in a case which could sour Beijing’s relations with Washington. The issue of media freedom for foreign reporters in China has attracted high-level concern in the United States, especially over worries that the government is denying visas for organizations that carry negative stories about China. Last month, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden expressed concern, while on a visit to Beijing, over China’s efforts to restrict the activities of foreign news organizations. Neither the New York Times Co nor Bloomberg News has been given new journalist visas for more than a year after they published stories about the wealth of family members of former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and current President Xi Jinping, respectively.

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