Updated: July 24, 2016 4:42:24 pm
India has asked three Chinese journalists working for official Xinhua News Agency to leave the country this month, refusing to extend their visas. The three journalists have been ordered to leave the country by July 31. An Indian official on Sunday declined to disclose reasons for refusal to renew the visas, but said Xinhua could send their replacements.
The official said they had received several visa extensions and one of them has been in the country for the past seven years. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to talk to reporters.
According to Hindu, the three journalists had travelled to Bangalore recently and met exiled Tibetan activists, which became an issue with the government. Though the Tibetan government in exile is headquartered in the northern town of Dharmsala, thousands of Tibetans live in Karnataka. Xinhua and China’s Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to faxed requests for comment on Sunday.
As reported by HT, Wu Qiang and Lu Tang are head of Xinhua’s bureau in New Delhi and Mumbai respectively. The third journalist, She Yonggang, is a reporter based in Mumbai. No official reason was given for the decision, but sources said the three had come under the “adverse attention of security agencies” for allegedly indulging in activities beyond their journalistic brief.
The sources, however, said the action did not imply that Xinhua journalists are not welcome in India. “The agency can replace them with others. There is nothing here to construe that Xinhua has to wind up its news operations in India,” a source said.
The announcement comes at a time when relations between New Delhi and Beijing have been under strain following China’s refusal in June to back India’s bid for membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG).
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