The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China strongly regrets that New York Times correspondent Chris Buckley has been forced to leave mainland China because of delays in his journalistic accreditation.
The Chinese government has not explained its reasons for the three and a half month delay in Mr. Buckley’s accreditation to his new post. This lack of clarity inevitably raises suspicions that the authorities are punishing the New York Times for articles it published recently concerning Premier Wen Jiabao and his family.
The FCCC hopes the delay is merely bureaucratic, and urges the Chinese authorities to treat applications for journalistic accreditation with greater clarity and promptness. An FCCC survey last November found that 20 members had been obliged to wait for more than four months for their accreditation; the New York Times Beijing bureau chief, Philip Pan, has himself been waiting for more than nine months.
At the same time the FCCC welcomes the fact that Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials processed the standard annual renewals of foreign journalists’ accreditations this year with unusual efficiency. The club has heard no reports of any undue delays or obstacles in this process.
The FCCC Board