French journalist leaves China after being forced out

By The Associated Press | Posted - Dec. 31, 2015 at 2:01 p.m.



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BEIJING (AP) — A French journalist has left China -- after being denied press credentials and facing heavy criticism from the Foreign Ministry and state media over her reporting.

Ursula Gauthier is a longtime journalist for a French news magazine (L'Obs). She left on a flight out of Beijing shortly after midnight. She was the first foreign journalist forced to leave China since 2012, when American Melissa Chan, then working for Al Jazeera in Beijing, was expelled.

The Chinese government refused to renew Gauthier's press credentials, without which she could not obtain a new visa. It demanded that she apologize publicly and express contrition over what it said was anti-Chinese bias.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Gauthier had supported "terrorism and cruel acts" that killed civilians and refused to apologize for her words.

Gauthier said today that she would never apologize for what she wrote, even if it meant not returning to China. She earlier called the accusations absurd and said China should prosecute her if it truly believed she supported terrorism.

%@AP Links

182-a-12-(Ursula Gauthier, L'Obs correspondent in China, in AP interview)-"my best article"-Ursula Gauthier, a longtime journalist for the French news magazine L'Obs, says she can't believe China has forced her out. (31 Dec 2015)

<<CUT *182 (12/31/15)££ 00:12 "my best article"

APPHOTO XMAS107: French journalist Ursula Gauthier, a reporter in China for the French news magazine L'Obs, checks her cellphone as she waits at Bejing Capital International Airport in Beijing, Thursday, Dec. 31, 2015. Gauthier is leaving China after being denied press credentials and facing heavy criticism from the Foreign Ministry and state media over her reporting, becoming be the first foreign journalist forced to leave China since 2012, when American Melissa Chan, then working for Al Jazeera in Beijing, was expelled. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein) (31 Dec 2015)

<<APPHOTO XMAS107 (12/31/15)££

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The Associated Press

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