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Chinese Journalists asked to leave for hiding identity during visit to Tibatian settlements

July 25, 2016 07:35 AM
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping

We gave them fortnightly extensions on the understanding that they would be ‘replaced by another set of journalists’ from China

New Delhi: India decided not to renew the visas of three journalists of official Chinese news agency Xinhua after an adverse report from the Ministry of Home Affairs, sources confirmed.

According to the report, that was forwarded from the State intelligence chief in Karnataka in April this year, the journalists had travelled to Bengaluru where two of them had been intercepted by the police when meeting with members of the Tibetan community in Bylakuppe. At the time, the sources said, the journalists were using different names from their identification papers.

The journalists had also sent a representation to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj last week, requesting her to revise the government’s decision. However, with time running out, the journalists are understood to be making their travel plans to return to Beijing.

Government sources have insisted that the journalists were not being “expelled” from India. “We had given them several fortnightly extensions on the understanding that their successors would be sent shortly,” a highly placed source said, adding that their visas had expired “four months ago,” and they were finally asked to collect their passports and leave the country by July 31. The government has also informed Xinhua that they are “welcome to send replacements.”

The three journalists Wu Qiang and Lu Tang, heads of Xinhua’s bureaus in Delhi and Mumbai respectively and She Yonggang, a reporter in the Mumbai bureau were not available for comment on the allegations.

Mr. Wu told The Hindu on Saturday that “No explanation has been given for the denial of visa renewal.”

However an associate of one of the reporters said that while the journalists had travelled to Bengaluru, they were not aware that there was any issue with either “the areas they visited” or the “people they met.”

The associate, who didn’t wish to be identified, also said that many Chinese nationals working outside the country adopt local names that are less difficult to pronounce.

Lu Tang, for example, who studied at both Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Sardar Patel University in Gujarat, where she did research for many years, had used the name “Laxmi” during her time in India.

“Whether it is in Western countries or other Asian countries, that is standard for Chinese expatriates everywhere,” the associate said. The journalists had also sent a representation to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj last week, requesting her to revise the government’s decision. However, with time running out, the journalists are understood to be making their travel plans to return to Beijing.

The event is likely to further strain bilateral ties, which have seen considerable tension in the last few months. In April, India had expressed its unhappiness over China’s decision to place a technical hold on its bid to have Jaish –e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar banned by the UN Taliban 1267 committee.

In the same month, Beijing had reacted adversely to a conference being held in Dharamsala for Chinese dissidents that subsequently saw India withdraw a visa to Uighur activist Dolkun Isa. The Hindu Report

The relationship saw its biggest strain more recently over the Nuclear Suppliers Group meeting where India accused China of blocking its membership bid.

Last week, China’s decision to “express concern” over the violence in Jammu and Kashmir was another source of tension. (First published in The Hindu)

 

 

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