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  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 12:04pm
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Canada bans Chinese state reporters from PM's Arctic tour over 'aggressive' behaviour

Reporters complain of discrimination after People's Daily and Xinhua barred from covering trip amid sensitive time in political relations

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 23 August, 2014, 7:33pm
UPDATED : Monday, 25 August, 2014, 2:46pm

Canada has banned journalists with China’s official news agency and the Communist Party newspaper from joining Prime Minister Stephen Harper on an Arctic trip, prompting complaints by Chinese reporters who say they are being discriminated against.

The ban comes at a time when relations between the two countries are already strained.

The Canadian government recently accused Chinese hackers of infiltrating the computer systems of Canada’s top research and development organisation, which China denies.

Just a few days later, authorities in China arrested a Canadian couple, who ran a coffee shop in the border city of Dandong, on suspicion of stealing state secrets about military and national defence research. They remain in custody.

The decision not to have reporters for the People’s Daily and the Xinhua News Agency travel with Harper stems from an incident during last year’s trip to the Arctic, when Li Xuejiang of the People’s Daily pushed former Harper spokeswoman Julie Vaux after she prevented him from asking a question.

Jason MacDonald, chief Harper spokesman, said in an e-mail on Friday from the Arctic that “some media outlets are not welcome on the trip”.

In a telephone interview, Li acknowledged pushing Vaux last year, but said the prime minister’s office discriminated against Chinese journalists by not allowing him to ask a question and later having him manhandled by police.

“They used the police force to get me out of the line of the journalists. It’s very rare in the world,” he said. “They made bruise on my arm.”

Li, the bureau chief for the Communist Party newspaper and a former Washington correspondent, said he could not understand why he was silenced. Harper’s staff limits the number of questions at public events.

Li said he did not even apply to go on this year’s trip.

“Why do they discriminate against Chinese journalists? For racial reasons?” he said. “They didn’t give me any reason.”

Xinhua News Agency reporter Baodong Li said he applied but was told he could not go because of a lack of space. He does not understand why he was banned.

“This is really ridiculous. This is not just against Mr Li of the People’s Daily, it’s also against all the Chinese journalists,” Baodong said. “It has nothing to do with me.”

Li and Baodong said they are considering issuing a complaint with the Ottawa press gallery.

David Mulroney, Canada’s ambassador to China from 2009 to 2012, said journalists in China can be quite aggressive, and have been for some time.

“I was once in a melee as they stampeded into a meeting room to get a photo of then-president Jiang Zemin. I believe that journalism is one of those critical aspects of Chinese society that is changing slowly but steadily,” Mulroney said in an e-mail.

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This article is now closed to comments

53f8fc67-31ac-4984-9351-4c5b0a320968
Wow! First he assaults a government official, then he's upset because he got a bruise when he was stopped in his aggression, THEN the typical race card is pulled out. What a cowardly man.
kenziekk@gmail.com
DUH! Li pushed Harper's spokeswoman. If that isn't reason enough, I don't know what is. And he keeps saying he doesn't know why he's banned? Obviously they should have booked him for assault, and then maybe he'd get it.
535aea67-f740-4042-ae89-35060a320969
They should booked and put him in jail for an assault and public disturbances.No way he will behave like this in his country.
53f8d4a5-f050-4e8a-a051-08db0a3209ca
Canada does not want Chinese people because they are uncivilized - Even if it was a police state, Chinese people would have good experience at that in China. If the same thing happened in China the person would have disappeared or have been too scared to even behave like that.
Chinese people should not come to Canada
wumao
Missing the freedoms that you get in China, Mr Li?
Marcus T Anthony
Sadly, your racism is typical of the wumao and CCP sponsored press. I suspect that's why Xinhua and Peoples Daily are not welcome. These are not journalists, they are arms of government propaganda, just as your posts are. But you already know all this. The distinction here is between a government that wants information controlled and spun to suit a precise mandate of the state, and journalists who are at least in theory relatively free to report what they see.
Cut out your generic denunciations of white people based on race and you might find your ideas more freely received. This is common sense and basic psychological maturity.
andreaswagner
These 'reporters' represent the CCP, a criminal organisation by all standards. Can't blame Canada to put restrictions on these muppets.
ejmciii
ON the other hand, the PLA and Chinese police never do repress minorities. You are a bloody lampoon. If you were not so pathetic you'd be funny.
tkruemmer
Considering the intimidation and coercion the minders at the Foreign Ministry in Beijing apply to foreign journalists in China, there is little room for Chinese journalists abroad to complain about foreign governments.
Mikado
The Canadians police are very well trained in oppressing minorities especially the Native Indians whose lands have been stolen and are oppressed by the Canadian government. This is how Canada treats non Anglos even the French in Quebec. A nasty people who are mongrels and thieves. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police is not a law enforcement agency but actually a mafia organisation doing the murdering and marauding on behalf of the Canadian fascist government.

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