WASHINGTON Jan 30 The White House on Thursday
sharply criticized China's treatment of foreign journalists and
noted specifically the case of a New York Times reporter whose
visa was not extended.
In a statement, White House spokesman Jay Carney said
foreign journalists faced impediments to their ability to do
their jobs. Such conditions include extended delays in
processing journalist visas, restrictions on travel to some
locations deemed "sensitive" by Chinese authorities, and
sometimes even violence from local officials.
"These restrictions and treatment are not consistent with
freedom of the press and stand in stark contrast with U.S.
treatment of Chinese and other foreign journalists," Carney
The statement expressed disappointment that New York Times
reporter Austin Ramzy was forced to leave China on Thursday
because of processing delays for his press credentials.
"We remain concerned that Mr. Ramzy and several other U.S.
journalists have waited months, and in some cases years, for a
decision on their press credentials and visa applications,"
Treatment of American journalists is one of several issues
that have strained U.S.-Chinese relations recently, along with
China's declaration of an air defense zone to support its
territorial claims on islands that Japan considers part of its
territory in the East China Sea.
Carney said the United States would continue to raise its
concerns about the treatment of journalists and media
organizations in China. He urged Beijing to commit to timely
visa and credentialing decisions for foreign journalists as well
as to unblock U.S. media websites and eliminate other
"Our two countries should be expanding media exchanges to
enhance mutual understanding and trust," he said, "not
restricting the ability of journalists to do their work."
(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)