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"I believe that to meet the challenges of our times, human beings will have to develop a greater sense of universal responsibility. It is the foundation for world peace."

Polish journalists denied Chinese Visa, blacklisted for criticizing China

July 12, 2010

Tenzin Tsering
July 9, 2010

Dharamsala, July 9 -- A Polish journalist has
been denied visa to travel to China, 3 months
after his colleague Maria Kruczkowska was also denied visa to China.

Both the journalists working for Poland’s largest
newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, specialized in
covering stories on China are now "blacklisted"
by the Chinese authorities. Maria was barred from
visiting China to cover the Shanghai Expo in May
for writing an article that criticized the 2008
Beijing Olympics in Gazeta Wyborcza.

"This is a tragedy for me" said Konrad Godlewski,
34, a freelance journalist commissioned by the
newspaper who had visited China several times in the past without any trouble.

Godlewski, though officially invited by the
founders of the Europe China Foundation to cover
the China-Europe Forum from July7 - 11, was given
no explanation other than that he is "blacklisted."

The spokesperson of Chinese embassy in Poland
refused to reason on the rejection of visa to the
two journalists saying "the Chinese authorities
are not obliged to reveal" why their names were put on the blacklist.

Godlewski has earlier reported from China and
even stayed in Beijing studying Chinese language.
He believes that his translation of an interview
between the Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama and
Chinese writer Wang Lixong in May, must have resulted in his blacklisting.

Kruczkowska who has only a year to retire said,
"This will affect my work radically. I cannot
write reports without visiting the country."

The International Press Institute (IPI) board
member and Gazeta Wyborcza Deputy Editor-in-Chief
Piotr Stasinski, called it "deeply surprising"
saying both the journalists are "very
knowledgeable reporters, experienced in covering
modern China issues and developments."

IPI Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills said: "We
expect China to abide by universal press freedom
values. This includes allowing foreign
journalists to cover developments inside China,
just as Chinese journalists should be allowed to
cover events elsewhere in the world. Maria
Kruczkowska and Konrad Godlewski are apparently
being denied entry into China because they are
associated with pieces of journalism critical of
the Chinese authorities. We urge China to refrain
from blacklisting journalists because of their
work and to allow them access to the country so
that they can continue to inform the public."

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