Our Views: New bans on reporters

We congratulate Austin Ramzy, of The New York Times, for his reporting on China. He deserves congratulations, whether one reads the Times or not, because he did good enough work that the communist government wants to get rid of him. His visa to work in the mainland was not renewed.

As White House spokesman Jay Carney noted, many other journalists are being expelled because their work visas expire. Even if renewed, the applications are allowed to languish for months — a clear threat that the journalists’ reporting is being watched by the authoritarian government.

Carney also urged China to unblock U.S. media websites and eliminate other restrictions on journalists, including on travel. He said in some cases, journalists face violence at the hands of local authorities.

It’s worse: Police and plainclothes security officers have harassed reporters in Beijing covering the trials of dissidents and activists. Foreign reporters also generally deal with official intimidation of interviewees as well as bans on going to Tibet or troubled parts of ethnic minority regions.

The Ramzy case was closely watched, in part because Vice President Joe Biden personally raised the U.S. concerns over journalists’ access in meetings with Chinese leaders in December.

Better luck next time, Joe, but the government of the United States is right to be concerned about press freedoms and human rights concerns in a country that wants to be treated as part of the civilized world, but acts internally as a lawless dictatorship.