Date
21 September 2017
While presidents Obama and Xi promoted the mutual easing of visa restrictions, the Chinese leader hinted foreign news organizations had brought their visa problems on themselves. Photo: Reuters
While presidents Obama and Xi promoted the mutual easing of visa restrictions, the Chinese leader hinted foreign news organizations had brought their visa problems on themselves. Photo: Reuters

NYT tells Xi: We won’t change our coverage to please you

The New York Times has pledged to continue reporting honestly on China and its citizens despite obstacles placed in its way by the country’s authorities. 

The newspaper said that while US President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping made much in Beijing of an agreement by their two countries to ease visa restrictions for businessmen, students and tourists, Xi displayed little patience when asked at a news conference if he would do the same for foreign journalists.

It quoted Xi as eventually replying, “When a car breaks down on the road, perhaps we need to step down and see what the problem is.”

In an editorial titled “A Response to President Xi Jinping”, the Times said his message was clear: “He was warning foreign news organizations that their troubles are self-inflicted; they are being penalized for unfavorable or controversial news coverage and could correct the problem by changing that approach.”

The newspaper said the authorities had regularly declined to process visas for its new resident journalists and had sought to block access to its English-language and Chinese-language websites for people inside China over the past two years after it published news reports on the wealth of the country’s political elite.

“The Times has no intention of altering its coverage to meet the demands of any government — be it that of China, the United States or any other nation. Nor would any credible news organization,” the newspaper thundered.

It said it would continue to give China and its citizens honest reporting and attention.

“Demanding that journalists tailor their coverage to suit the state only protects the powerful and those with something to hide,” the editorial said.

“A confident regime that considers itself a world leader should be able to handle truthful examination and criticism.”

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AC/FL

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