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CBC News to shut China office after unanswered visa request for journalists

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation said on Wednesday it was shutting its news bureau in Beijing after waiting two years in vain for a China work permit for its journalists.

The publicly owned news outlet had numerous exchanges with Chinese officials in Canada over the past two years about visas but without a resolution, CBC News Editor-in-Chief Brodie Fenlon said in a blog post.

A letter sent to China’s ambassador to Canada in April was acknowledged but not followed up, Fenlon said.

The Chinese embassy in Ottawa did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The decision comes months after CBC News, which has had an office in China for over 40 years, was forced to shut its Moscow bureau by Russia’s foreign ministry in response to a Canadian ban on Russian state TV station Russia Today.

A correspondent for CBC’s French-language service, Radio-Canada, was still waiting for a visa from China after having applied for one in October 2020, Fenlon said.

CBC’s English language journalist who returned to Canada when China started to lock down at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic has not been able to return as a permanent correspondent either.

“While there was no dramatic expulsion or pointed public statements, the effect is the same. We can’t get visas for our journalists to work there as permanent correspondents,” Fenlon said.

CBC would search for a new a location to cover east Asia over the coming months, while Radio-Canada will station its journalist in Taiwan for the next two years, Fenlon added. Reuters

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