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China 14 October 2005

Two French journalists refused visas

Reporters Without Borders today condemned the Chinese government’s refusal to issue tourist visas to French journalists Jean-Claude Buhrer, Le Monde’s former correspondent at the UN in Geneva, and Claude B. Levenson, a specialist in Tibet.

They applied for their visas at the Chinese embassy in Bangkok for a trip to Chengdu. Consular officials there told them the refusal was probably due to their “activities” as journalists.

Reporters Without Borders said it was deplorable that foreign journalists, especially those interested in Tibet, were not made welcome in China.

“The mere fact of being a journalist and having written about human rights in Tibet is clearly sufficient reason to be refused a visa,” Buhrer said. “But after more than 10 visits to provinces in China and Tibet between 1984 and 2000, we weren’t expecting to be turned down like this.”

In 2003, Buhrer wrote a survey for Reporters Without Borders on the malfunctioning of the UN human rights commission, which Chinese diplomats often manage to manipulate in order to cover up human rights violations in China.

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