China denies credentials to Wall Street Journal reporter

Elias Hubbard
August 30, 2019

Beijing said journalists who attack China were "not welcome" in the country, after it failed to renew the press credentials of a foreign journalist who wrote an article about one of President Xi Jinping's cousins.

Chun Han Wong, a Singapore national, had been based in Beijing, where he had reported on politics in China since 2014.

"We can confirm that Chinese authorities have declined to renew Chun Han's press credentials", a Dow Jones spokesman said in an e-mail. Those credentials expired Friday.

"Among other things, police are looking into the alleged 2017 use by the cousin, Ming Chai, now a 61-year-old Australian citizen, of what they describe as a money-laundering front company that has helped gamblers and suspected mobsters move funds in and out of Australia", the July report said.

The paper expressed its disappointment. "We of course remain committed to covering the important story of China with the usual high standards that our readers expect". Still, Beijing considers the private wealth of top leaders' families to be the most sensitive and taboo reporting subject of all, given the chasm between the Communist Party's ideological rhetoric and the vast, often hidden wealth accrued by elite families since the party turned toward state capitalism in the 1980s.

The action comes one month after Wong co-wrote a story detailing an Australian investigation into alleged links between Xi's cousin and money laundering and suspected organised crime.

Wong is the sixth journalist to leave China under such circumstances since 2013, according to the Foreign Correspondents Club of China.

"Expulsions of journalists from China amount to an extreme attempt by Chinese authorities to punish news organisations that conduct factual work that does not cast the country or its leadership in a flattering light".

Foreigners are not allowed to work as journalists in China without official credentials, which are required to obtain a residence visa.

China sometimes withholds or refuses visas to punish worldwide news organizations for what the ruling Communist Party perceives as unfavorable coverage.

A 2012 Bloomberg News investigative report disclosing the Xi family's investments resulted in a visa ban for the news agency that was only lifted after extensive discussions between Bloomberg executives and Chinese officials.

The wealth of Communist Party leaders and their families has always been a taboo subject.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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