The Chinese government went back to its old ways of punishing messengers and clamping down on the ability of journalists to work. The latest action came when Beijing refused to renew the journalism visa for Melissa Chan of Al Jazeera.
The move shuts down the English-language bureau for Al Jazeera. This is the first time in almost a decade and a half that China expelled a journalist. (The New York Times: China Expels Al Jazeera Channel; The Guardian: Al-Jazeera closes Beijing bureau after reporter expelled)
Besides not renewing her visa, Chinese authorities refused to let another reporter enter in her place.
Chan and her news organization have been a thorn in the side of the Chinese authorities for some time.
Al Jazeera has regularly reported stories more from the view of individuals rather than large sweeping political or economic movements. (It is this “worm’s eye view” coverage of the Middle East that seems to so upset many in the United States.)
Chan did a story about how the numerous deaths of children in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake were made even more devastating because of China’s one-child policy.
The latest story — and the one that seems to have set off Chinese authorities — was about prison labor in China.