A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Friday that a statement issued by the US Department of State does not accord with facts and urged foreign journalists in China to observe Chinese laws.
In a statement issued on Jan. 30, the US State Department regrets that Austin Ramzy, a New York Times journalist, has been "forced" to leave China, expresses concern about the working environment of foreign journalists in China, and makes accusations of press freedom violations in China.
When asked by a journalist to comment on the issue, spokesperson Hong Lei said that China follows its own laws and regulations in dealing with issues related to China-based foreign media organizations and journalists.
According to Hong, Austin Ramzy was a resident correspondent in China for Time magazine until last May when he stopped working for it. Right after leaving Time magazine, Ramzy notified in writing the Chinese Foreign Ministry that he had left his post and handed back his Foreign Journalist Identity Card issued by the Information Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
In accordance with Regulations Concerning Foreign Journalists and Permanent Offices of Foreign News Agencies, Hong said, Ramzy's resident journalist visa has expired.
Afterwards, the New York Times handed to the Chinese side an application for Ramzy's press credentials as its resident journalist in Beijing. The application has not been approved yet.
However, Ramzy, still in no status as residence journalist of the New York Times, did not apply to relevant Chinese departments to change his visa type and residence permit type while continuing to use his existing residence permit to come and go from China. "That constitutes a violation of relevant laws and regulations in China," Hong said.
Hong said the Chinese side is handling the New York Times' application for Ramzy's press credentials in accordance with laws and regulations.
"The New York Times told us late last year that Ramzy still had some personal affairs to sort out in China. The Chinese side then issued him a 30-day non-working visa on humanitarian grounds. That testifies to the facilitation provided by China to foreign journalists. As a result, it does not exist at all that Ramzy has been 'deported' or 'forced' to leave China," Hong stressed.
According to Hong, regardless of representations lodged by the Chinese side time and again, the US side issued the above statement which showed least attention to facts.
"China expresses its displeasure. China does not accept the unjustifiable accusations by the US side, and demands the US side to respect facts and take cautious words and acts," he said, adding that the Chinese side urged the US side to "do more conducive to media exchanges and mutual trust between the two countries."
China will continue to welcome foreign journalists' news coverage and reporting in China, protect the legitimate rights and interests of foreign journalists and permanent offices of foreign news outlets in China in accordance with law, and facilitate their work, he said.
"We also hope that foreign journalists observe Chinese laws and regulations and do news coverage in an objective and fair-minded way," he said.
The Chinese side will, as always, administrate network in accordance with laws, Hong said. Endi