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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 10 December 2018

BuzzFeed reporter in China says ministry has declined to renew her visa

Megha Rajagopalan's has reported on the country's security clampdown in the western Xinjiang region

Uighur security personnel patrol near the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar in western China's Xinjiang region. Megha Rajagopalan's BuzzFeed coverage has included reporting on China's security clampdown in western Xinjiang. AP
Uighur security personnel patrol near the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar in western China's Xinjiang region. Megha Rajagopalan's BuzzFeed coverage has included reporting on China's security clampdown in western Xinjiang. AP

The Chinese government has declined to renew the visa of a reporter for the US website BuzzFeed, the reporter said.

Megha Rajagopalan said on Twitter on Wednesday that the foreign ministry declined in May to issue her a new journalist visa, after working in China as a journalist for "six wonderful and eye-opening years".

"China's Foreign Ministry declined to issue me a new journalist visa. They say this is a process thing, we are not totally clear why," she wrote in a post.

Ms Rajagopalan worked for Reuters in China from 2012 to 2016.

Her BuzzFeed coverage has included reporting on China's security clampdown in the western Xinjiang region. She said she would be taking on a new role reporting from the Middle East.

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China said in a statement the government's decision was regrettable.

"We find this extremely regrettable and unacceptable for a government that repeatedly insists it welcomes foreign media to cover the country," it said.

"We are attempting to get clarity from the Foreign Ministry on its reasoning for effectively ejecting a credentialled foreign journalist from China and will relay any information they provide."

Resident foreign reporters are generally issued visas that must be renewed every year. The government has occasionally in the past declined to renew or grant new visas for foreign reporters whose stories it has not liked.