Three India-based journalists of the Chinese state news agency, Xinhua, have been asked to go back to their country by July 31, a senior government source has confirmed to The Hindu .
The three journalists are: Wu Qiang and Lu Tang, heads of Xinhua’s bureaus in Delhi and Mumbai respectively and She Yonggang, a reporter with Xinhua’s Mumbai bureau.
‘They have overstayed’
“The three journalists had overstayed their visa and subsequently they had received several visa extensions. So we asked them to go back as it is no longer possible to give them visa extensions,” the source said explaining that India hopes that Xinhua will send replacements for the journalists to fill up the vacant slots in the news agency’s bureaus in Delhi and Mumbai.
Mr. Wu also confirmed to The Hindu that the Indian authorities have told him that his visa will not be renewed. “No explanation has been given for the denial of visa renewal,” Mr. Wu told The Hindu elaborating that they had received the latest visa extension last week but were told that no further extensions would be granted to them.
The Hindu has learnt that the three journalists are experts on Indian affairs and Mr. Wu has served in the news agency for several years in India. Neither the Ministry of External Affairs nor Xinhua has revealed the exact reasons for rejection of visa renewal.
They met Tibetan activists: MHA
But a Ministry of Home Affairs source said that the journalists had travelled to Bengaluru recently for an event where they met Tibetan activists which became an issue. A submission was also made to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to reconsider the case but with time running out India asked the three to go back to their country.
“We hope that the return [to China] of these journalists will solve the visa-related hardships they faced and new recruits will be sent to India soon,” the government source said.