After three long years, the New York Times correspondent Chris Buckley was granted a journalist visa prior to Xi Jinping’s state visit to the United States. Buckley was pleased with the result after the long wait, and expressed his appreciation to friends, colleagues and family.
Buckley was forced to leave China on the last day of 2012 after China’s Foreign Ministry denied his application for the renewal of his journalist visa. Overseas media widely held that China’s denial of Buckey’s visa application was related to the fact that, in 2012, the New York Times published the results of an investigation into the family wealth of former premier Wen Jiabao. The Chinese government also blocked the websites of both the Chinese and the English editions of the newspaper.
During a joint press conference with President Obama last November, Xi Jinping at first appeared to dodge the question of Beijing’s withholding residence visas for U.S. journalists. Toward the end, he stated that the foreign media had to abide by Chinese laws. "When a car breaks down on the road," Xi went on to say, "perhaps we need to get out of the car and see where the problem lies. The Chinese say, ‘Let he who tied the bell on the tiger take it off’."
Analysts held that granting Buckley a journalist visa would avoid the same question being raised again in the press conference to be held during Xi’s upcoming visit to Washington.
In Beijing, days before his trip to the U.S., Xi also met with Rupert Murdoch, executive chairman of News Corp. Xi assured Murdoch that China will remain open to the world’s media. During the meeting on September 18, Xi said, "[We] welcome foreign media and correspondents to cover China stories, introduce China’s development to the world, and help the world grasp the opportunities [afforded by] China’s development."
Still, websites of the Wall Street Journal, which Murdoch owns, and of Voice of America remain blocked in China. The public has to install software applications that circumvent Beijing’s Internet censorship to visit these sites.
Source: Voice of America, September 22, 2015