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China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi (center) is seen in Beijing on April 19, 2019. China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently denied a visa to reporter Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian. (AFP/Nicolas Asfouri)

China refuses visa application for critical American journalist

June 19, 2019 11:12 AM ET

Taipei, June 19, 2019 -- The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs' refusal to issue a journalist visa to Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, a reporter who has covered China's influence abroad.

Allen-Ebrahimian was hired as a Beijing correspondent for French news agency Agence France-Presse and began the visa application process in late 2018, but in the following months never received any update on her application from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, according to Allen-Ebrahimian, who spoke with CPJ via messaging app, and a report by BuzzFeed News.

Chinese authorities expressed to AFP that the news agency should submit a different candidate, Allen-Ebrahimian told CPJ.

"Denying a visa to Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian is an act of retribution for her past reporting on the Chinese government's efforts to spread political power abroad and is a shameful attempt to prevent critical coverage of China," said CPJ Program Director Carlos Martinez de la Serna, in New York. "China should immediately process Allen-Ebrahimian's visa application and allow journalists to exercise their international right to report the news regardless of borders."

In a phone call with CPJ, a representative from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to comment on the case.

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