Pan-Arab news network Al Jazeera English said it was closing its Beijing bureau following China’s refusal to renew the visa of its sole English-language correspondent, Melissa Chan, Bloomberg reported. A US citizen, Chan had been Al Jazeera English’s China correspondent since 2007, filing nearly four hundred stories during her stay and recently covering sensitive topics such as forced abortions, secret jails and Bo Xilai’s downfall. The incident represents China’s first expulsion of an accredited foreign journalist since 1998. “The channel has expressed its disappointment in the situation and said it is continuing to request a presence in China,” Salah Negm, news director at Al Jazeera English. China’s decision not to review Chan’s visa comes at a sensitive time, as the country tries to ensure stability ahead of a once-a-decade leadership transition in October.
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