Al Jazeera English has closed its bureau in Beijing after the Chinese authorities refused to renew its correspondent’s press credentials and visa, or allow a replacement journalist, Al-Jazeera web site reported Tuesday.
The channel expressed its disappointment at the situation and said it is continuing to request a presence in China.
It has been requesting additional visas for correspondents for some time through the normal procedures but these have not been issued.
Melissa Chan, who has been Al Jazeera English’s China correspondent since 2007, has filed nearly 400 reports during her five years in the country, the web site said.
She has covered stories about the economy, domestic politics, foreign policy, the environment, social justice, labour rights and human rights.
Salah Negm, director of news at Al Jazeera English said: “We’ve been doing a first class job at covering all stories in China.
“We hope China appreciates the integrity of our news coverage and our journalism. We value this journalist integrity in our coverage of all countries in the world, he said.
“Al Jazeera Media Network will continue to work with the Chinese authorities in order to reopen our Beijing bureau.” Negm added.
Bob Dietz of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said Chan’s case, the first expulsion of a journalist since 1998, “marks a real deterioration in China’s media environment and sends a message that international coverage is unwanted”.