State Media Supports Expulsion of French Journalist for Xinjiang Reporting

On November 23, 2015, the print edition of the state sponsored China Daily published an article entitled "Double Standard on Terrorism is Symptomatic of West's View." Some excerpts:
entitled “
On Nov 18, the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur (The New Observer) published an article on its website authored by staff writer Ursula Gauthier, which blamed the Chinese government's policies in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region for terrorist attacks in China.
. . . .
Gauthier's article claims that Muslim names are forbidden in Xinjiang and ethnic Uygur government staff must eat in public during Ramadan. However, Such claims are refuted by Uygurs as nothing but lies.

After the terrorist attack in Paris on Nov 13 that claimed at least 132 lives, the Chinese government condemned terrorism and expressed its sympathy for the French people. Many Chinese people also expressed their condolences to the victims. Guathier has noticed these because she includes them in her article, but she does not show any sympathy for the victims of the terrorist attacks in China.

It is shocking that she holds such deeply rooted prejudice against China. For her, it seems that every person should serve her politics.
. . . .
Being politically radical has so blinded some Western journalists such as Gauthier that they lose their common sense. They only know Western standards of "human rights". For that political purpose they dare to challenge the basic human norm that the killing of innocent civilians is a crime.

That hurts Chinese people. At a time when Chinese media and Chinese people had condemned the Paris attack and extended their support to the French people, it is offensive for the French magazine to publish such an article.

It is time the French media rethink such an ridiculous and unreasonable attitude. The Chinese people are friendly to the French people, who should have no reason to return evil for good. They should join hands in fighting terrorism.
On December 26, 2015, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang made the following statement during a press conference:
In her report dated November 18, Ursula Gauthier, the Beijing-based correspondent for L'Obs blatantly championed acts of terrorism and slaughter of innocent civilians, igniting indignation among the Chinese people. She did not make a serious apology to the Chinese public for her erroneous remarks, and is no longer suitable to continue working in China.

China protects the lawful rights and interests of permanent offices of foreign news agencies and foreign journalists on news coverage in China, but will never tolerate the act of speaking for terrorism.
The same day the state sponsored Global Times published an editorial entitled “L’Obs’ China Articles Biased, Unprofessional.” Some excerpts:
French news magazine L'Obs published an editorial on Tuesday saying its Beijing-based journalist Ursula Gauthier has been threatened.

It all started after Gauthier wrote an article in November in the wake of the Paris terror attacks. The article said the Chinese government had attempted to make use of Chinese people's sympathy toward the Paris victims for its own "ulterior motives," namely, to justify China's crackdown on violence in its western region of Xinjiang as a fight against terrorism.

The article slammed China's Xinjiang policies, claiming that the Uyghurs have been suffering from ruthless repression. She said that the recent deadly attacks by Uyghurs on a coal mine in Xinjiang were "probably in revenge for an abuse, an injustice or an expropriation."
. . . .
But what Gauthier has written in effect showed support to terrorism in Xinjiang. The international community has shown consensus  in the fight against terrorism. Gauthier must pay the price for her mistake in taking the wrong side of moral principle.

However, Gauthier and the magazine are not admitting their problems. They complained that she still has not received renewed press credentials from the Chinese government. She told the AFP that this is "a pretext to intimidate foreign correspondents in China, particularly on issues concerning minorities."

We do not know if this is a show of heroism or incredible shallowness. Reading Gauthier's articles, a professional journalist can easily find them full of emotional speculation and short of professionalism. Gauthier's reports do not seem to have come from a person who has been living in China for years. Ignorant of what is really taking place in China, she writes articles out of stubborn Western stereotypes.
On December 28 Lu Kang made the following statement during a press conference:
In her report dated November 18, Ursula Gauthier, the Beijing-based correspondent for L'Obs blatantly championed acts of terrorism and slaughter of innocent civilians, igniting indignation among the Chinese people. She did not make a serious apology to the Chinese public for her erroneous remarks, and is no longer suitable to continue working in China.

China protects the lawful rights and interests of permanent offices of foreign news agencies and foreign journalists on news coverage in China, but will never tolerate the act of speaking for terrorism.

Since this statement went public, I have noted that Ursula Gauthier tried to justify herself. I want to say that her arguments are futile as they evaded the nature of the issue and avoided the real question here. She claimed that relevant measures were a result of her criticism on China's ethnic policies. I think you are all clear that she has been working and living in China for 15 years. During these 15 years, she has been critical of China on many issues, yet she encountered no problem working in China. She also argued that China suppresses freedom of expression and thus would not allow her to work and report in China as a correspondent. I also want to remind her that among the 611 journalists from over 300 foreign news agencies, 610 of them have got their press credentials extended. Maybe she should have more self-examination.
On December 28, 2015, the Global Times published an article entitled “Survey Shows 95% Support French Reporter’s Expulsion.” Some excerpts:
Some 95 percent of people polled online supported the Chinese foreign ministry's decision to expel a French journalist for her comments on terrorism, a survey has shown.

The poll conducted by huanqiu.com, a website affiliated with the Global Times Chinese edition, shows that as of 7 pm on Sunday, 198,210 votes were cast in favor of the decision to expel Ursula Gauthier, or 94.5 percent of the total. 11,607 voted against it.
On December 28, 2015 China’s official news agency Xinhua published an editorial entitled “Press Freedom No Excuse for Advocating Terrorism.” Some excerpts:
For French reporter Ursula Gauthier, her days in China are literately numbered: she will have to leave the country before the end of the year after refusing to apologize for a misleading report on China, which is saturated with sympathy for terrorists in China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

In her article published on Nov. 18, only five days after the heinous Paris terror attacks that claimed more than 130 human lives, Gauthier questioned China's "ulterior motives" in expressing solidarity with France after the attacks.

The article ignored basic facts and described a recent bloody terror attack in Xinjiang as a revolt against alleged "ruthless government oppression."
. . . .
Whether Gauthier admits or not, her fact-distorting article equates to justifying terror attacks in Xinjiang, and that is something very welcomed by terror plotters inside China, and possibly in other parts of the world.

The article is as immoral as it it sensational: by falsely describing certain ethnic groups in Xinjiang as the oppressed, the article may also incite hatred and confrontation between different ethnic groups in China.

Gauthier may be too proud to retract her problematic report or to apologize, but it seems she is definitely glad to make her de facto expulsion from China as an affront to press freedom.

However, it is worth noting that even press freedom has its limits and citing press freedom as defense for a deeply biased and potentially dangerous report is not at all convincing.

There will be further restrictions for media when conducting terror-related reports, according to China's first anti-terror law promulgated Sunday.
On December 30, 2015, Lu Kang made the following statement during a press conference:
[I]f she had some serious introspection, she would take the initiative to apologize, instead of being asked to apologize.

Ursula Gauthier told the press that she received the so-called death threats. If I remember it correctly, this is not the first time she made such claims. The logic goes that if a person seriously believes that his or her life is threatened, the first response must be calling the police. The Chinese government has the responsibility of safeguarding lawful rights and interests of foreigners in China. But as far as I know, the Chinese police has yet to receive such an alarm. Ursula Gauthier should go to the police if she really believes she is threatened. Instead she is flaunting it in front of the press which is rather unusual, unless she is doing it for other purposes.
On January 4, 2015, the Global Times published an editorial entitled “Gauthier no Fighter for Speech Freedom.” Some excerpts:
As far as we know, many Western correspondents in Beijing considered Gauthier's articles unprofessional and questionable. Her being forced to leave has not attracted real sympathy. France and the EU made a mild response since it didn't make much sense to defend her.

The Chinese government's reasonable move has earned overwhelming support from the public. While some Western media outlets habitually show opposition, overall Western reaction has not been fierce. It's explicit that Gauthier and L'Obs are losers.
. . . .
If Chinese journalists blamed the French government for the terror attacks in Paris, called them justified or even denied they were terror attacks, how would the French government and public respond? China respects the values and working of foreign journalists, but it doesn't need to fawn on individuals like Gauthier. Neither will L'Obs reward her nor the Western media marketplace reward L'Obs.

Sometimes China needs to get tough on some Western rule-breakers based on its principles. A China that is reasonable and also bold to face frictions will earn more respect.
These screenshots were taken on December 27, 2015, and show image search results for "Islam" on Baidu and Bing.
 This screenshot was also taken on December 27, and shows that Baidu had banned users from establishing a PostBar (Tieba 贴吧) forum on the topic of "Islam."


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