Allow Foreign Journalists to Cover News in China

Target: Prime Minister Wen Jiabao

Goal: Allow foreign journalists to stay and cover the news in China

Foreign reporters and journalists have been having difficulty with their work visas in China. Recently, 45-year-old New York Times correspondent Chris Buckley was denied a work visa and was forced to immediately vacate his home in mainland China. Buckley, originally from Australia, has been working as a correspondent in China for 12 years; he and his family relocated to Hong Kong until further notice. There have been speculations that Chinese officials do not want these reporters to stay because of their recent coverage on top Chinese leaders and their finances. However, China cannot censor these reporters simply because it does not like the results. People deserve to know the truth about their leaders.

The foreign news media have been pressured by the Chinese government to lay off of high level officials. Corruption is always a controversial topic within the nation and even though it is covered by reporters, corruption within higher levels of the government tends to be ignored on purpose. One of the more recent investigations published by the New York Times focused on the wealth of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao. The article has since been blocked so that the Chinese public cannot access it. An article about another top leader, Xi Jinping, was also blocked. The Chinese officials have not commented about the recent visa rejection. China cannot just block out every journalist that chooses to cover top officials. All news that matters to the public should be presented.

The New York Times applied for the visa earlier in the year and the process usually takes a few months, but Buckley did not hear back until the end of the year, giving him no choice but to leave right away. These visa troubles do not stop at Buckley’s case; many foreign journalists are having troubles renewing their visas.  The executive editor of the Times stated: “I hope the Chinese authorities will issue him [Buckley] a new visa as soon as possible and allow Chris and his family to return to Beijing.”

China must stop its tradition of censorship and start allowing the public to read about real news. China needs to let journalists do their jobs and issue visas to these journalists.


Dear Prime Minister Wen Jiabao,

New York Times correspondent Chris Buckley has been working in China for 12 years and his visa was recently declined. Although you and other top government officials may claim that Buckley’s visa denial has nothing to do with the recent investigations on the riches of top officials, it is clear that the government is pushing out journalists.

You cannot censor the news because your people deserve to know what is going on within their own country. Investigations into top officials should ideally be fair game and you cannot punish these journalists for doing their jobs. Please issue these journalists their visas and let them continue with their work.


[Your Name Here]

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