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Carney Concerned About Press in China Facing 'Restrictions'

11:26 AM, Jan 30, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
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White House press secretary Jay Carney is concerned that the press in China -- the foreign press there -- is facing "restrictions."

"The United States is deeply concerned that foreign journalists in China continue to face restrictions that impede their ability to do their jobs, including extended delays in processing journalist visas, restrictions on travel to certain locations deemed “sensitive” by Chinese authorities and, in some cases, violence at the hands of local authorities.  These restrictions and treatment are not consistent with freedom of the press—and stand in stark contrast with U.S. treatment of Chinese and other foreign journalists," says Carney in a written statement to the press.

"We are very disappointed that New York Times reporter Austin Ramzy was forced to leave China today because of processing delays for his press credentials. We remain concerned that Mr. Ramzy and several other U.S. journalists have waited months, and in some cases years, for a decision on their press credentials and visa applications.  We have raised our concerns about the treatment of journalists and media organizations repeatedly and at the highest levels with the Chinese government, and will continue to do so.  We have consistently and clearly expressed our expectation to Chinese authorities that China issue and renew visas for journalists working for U.S. media outlets in China.

"Our two countries should be expanding media exchanges to enhance mutual understanding and trust, not restricting the ability of journalists to do their work.  We urge China to commit to timely visa and credentialing decisions for foreign journalists, unblock U.S. media websites, and eliminate other restrictions that impede the ability of journalists to practice their profession.  Around the world, the United States strongly supports universal rights and fundamental freedoms—central among them freedom of speech and freedom of the press."

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