A U.S. reporter based in Beijing was given until Thursday to leave the country, an order that seems tied to his media filings about the wealth that top Communist Party officials have been able to accumulate through the years.
Thursday is the day New York Times' reporter Austin Ramzy's visa expires, USA Today reported. But he's the second journalist for the newspaper in a little over a year to be forced to leave China, and media watchers say it's due to published reports that have proven embarrassing to the Communist Party — despite foreign ministers' attempt to argue otherwise.
The official reason from China for Mr. Ramzy's looming departure is that he violated visa rules, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, reported by USA Today. But China and media analysts aren't buying that line.
"These technical arguments are disingenuous," said Peter Ford, the president of The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China, in the USA Today report. "The visa rules are unclear and have not been applied to other foreign correspondents. The government is punishing The Times for the content of its coverage by denying three of its correspondents' visas. It seems as simple as that."
Both The New York Times and Bloomberg have come under fire from China authorities for reports that started in 2012 about then-Premier Wen Jiabao's accumulation of wealth. The reports also showcased the wealth of current Communist Party leader and President Xi Jinping. The China government blocked the news sites from the country's Internet service.
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