China does not discriminate against foreign journalists

Australia’s Canberra (AP) — China continued to welcome foreign journalists and did not discriminate against anyone, a Chinese envoy said Wednesday, inconsistent with Australian reporters’ opinion that they were “almost unacceptable.” did.

Australia’s deputy Chinese embassy, ​​Wang Xining, and Michael Smith, one of the last journalists the Australian media worked to flee from China, participated in a panel discussion on China at the Australian National Press Club. was doing.

Smith, an Australian financial review reporter who fled Shanghai in September after police requested an interview and temporarily blocked his departure, said China once told foreign journalists about China’s economic miracles. We welcomed the dissemination of the news.

“In China, there is no room for disagreement with the Chinese Communist Party,” Smith said. “Recently, we feel somehow almost unacceptable.”

Mr. Wang said he was “very sympathetic” to Smith and Bill Birtles, Australian Broadcasting Corporation reporters who fled Beijing at the same time as Smith.

“It wasn’t … that our embassy and Chinese authorities advised them to leave,” Wang said.

“Michael and I talked about the problem. We continue to talk and find a solution to this. But in general, I say Michael, but my government no longer welcomes foreign journalists. I disagree with what I say, because our policy welcomes journalists from every corner of the world and from Western nations, “added the King.

Many foreign journalists in China have visas for only three months, making domestic travel difficult. China has also blocked already restricted access to the BBC in retaliation for the UK’s revocation of the UK broadcast license for the foreign division of state news channel CCTV.

Smith said the latest prominent left China after the BBC’s former Beijing correspondent John Sudworth reported allegations that camps and minority groups in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region were forced to work in textile mills. He said he was a good journalist.

The BBC reported last month that Sudworth and his family had emigrated to Taiwan under pressure and intimidation from Chinese authorities.

Mr. Wang said a BBC journalist “could not present a true image” of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

“We never discriminate against journalists, but we want foreign journalists in China to present a true image of China,” said Wang.

Smith and Bartles had evacuated to an Australian diplomatic facility before being allowed to leave China under an agreement mediated between the two governments.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs later attacked the homes of four journalists working in China’s national media, Sydney, in June after Australian security forces attacked the homes of four journalists working in China’s national media for possible violations of Australia’s anti-foreign interference law. Said that he had seized.

After that, journalists representing Xinhua News Agency, China Central Radio, CCTV, and China News Agency returned to China.

Mr Smith said the raid on Sydney “clearly triggered what happened to us” on Wednesday.

“Bill Birtles and I have become the pawns of this little political game played by Australia and China,” Smith said.

Before they departed, Chinese police asked both journalists about Chen Ray, an Australian citizen who was a business newscaster for CGNT, China’s English national media channel, which had been detained a month ago.

The king said Chen remained legally detained.

“She was suspected of violating Chinese security law and was arrested for handling all of these cases in accordance with Chinese legal procedures and documents,” Wang said.