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French journalist of L’Obs magazine, Ursula Gauthier, published an article last month on the Chinese government’s anti-terror policies in the western province of Xinjiang, home to the mainly Muslim Uighurs some of whom complain of discrimination against their culture and religion.

In this regard, the Chinese government said they will not renew her press credentials and the foreign ministry even said, “It is not suitable for her to continue to work in China."

Gauthier is the first foreign correspondent threatened with expulsion from China since 2012. According to the Chinese laws, Gauthier needs to leave China by January 1, 2016 or she will be deported from the country.

BBC reports, Gauthier’s article, which was published on November 18, accused the Chinese authorities of using the Paris attacks to justify the repression in Xinjiang. She believes the reason Beijing claims to stand with Paris is to win international support to justify crackdowns on the Uighur people.

Newtalk reports, Gauthier was criticized by two major Chinese state media and even condemned by the spokesperson of Chinese foreign ministry in a press conference.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Lu Kang, said the article “openly supports terrorist activity, the killing of innocents and has outraged the Chinese public." Lu added that because Gauthier did not make a public apology, she could not stay and work in China.

Lu also stresses that China has always protected the rights of foreign press and the freedom of their journalists in China. However, they will not allow this freedom to speak for terrorism.

Speaking to RFI’s former Beijing correspondent, Stéphane Lagarde, Gauthier said that if she goes back to France, she will no longer suffer from any repression or threats, “but this is above all a bad sign for foreign journalists here."

A Hong Kong media,, reports, according to a Chinese state media, almost 90% of Internet users agree to deport Gauthier. The director of L’Obs magazine responds to the incident saying he can’t accept the Chinese government’s decision. Christophe Deloire, general secretary of Reporters Without Borders, also says, “Beijing demonstrates its will to restrict foreign journalists, likewise Chinese reporters."

In this regard, on Friday, the French foreign ministry issued a terse statement in which it regretted that Gauthier’s visa was not renewed. The French culture ministry stresses that it hopes to keep in contact with the Chinese government.

Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang