[Word of the info] Why Radio-Canada is closing its Beijing bureau

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[News update] Why Radio-Canada is closing its Beijing office

< p class="styled__StyledLegend-sc-v64krj-0 cfqhYM">Radio-Canada explains why it is closing its Beijing bureau.

The planet is changing before our eyes with an intensity that highlights more the importance of Radio-Canada's international coverage than ever before.

Telling you about the evolution of the world through the eyes of our correspondents and special correspondents is a priority in our mission to public service.

It is our responsibility and at the same time a privilege for us to be in the field, where these issues are played out, allowing us to meet citizens and shed a very unique light.< /p>

Moreover, the last few years have been extremely trying in several respects. A pandemic whose echoes can still be felt, societies in profound change, totalitarian regimes in full effervescence, climatic upheavals, new wars and others, almost chronic.

De From Hong Kong to Kabul, from Stockholm to Mumbai, from the Nevada desert to Rio, from Nairobi to kyiv, we are here to do the best journalism.

That's how , since last January, we have deployed our teams in 36 countries, always with the aim of explaining and contextualizing.

We have devoted very significant resources to covering the war in Ukraine since its earliest days, sending 15 teams back and forth to that country and across the region. And we will continue to do so.

Our offices abroad are cornerstones in the richness of our offer. Established in strategic locations for Canadian audiences, they provide daily anchoring in spheres of influence that are important to cover day after day.

In Europe, Radio-Canada has an office in Paris, while CBC's is in London. In recent months, our journalists have followed major issues there such as the consequences of the war in Ukraine and its energy crisis, the death of the Queen and the instability at the head of the United Kingdom, or the arrival of the extreme right at the head of the Italian government.

In Washington, our CBC/Radio-Canada office is hard at work covering both American politics, with the midterm elections in November, and the social and environmental changes in this country

< p class="e-p">The withdrawal of major players such as Russia and China forces us to rethink our way of covering the international scene.

On May 18, 2022, we were deeply shaken by the decision of the Russian authorities to close our office and to revoke the accreditations and visas of our journalistic team, thus expelling us from the territory.

Radio-Canada and CBC have been there for 44 years through our correspondents and local staff. Russian authorities have cited retaliatory measures taken in response to Canada's actions, thus ignoring the distinction between the Canadian government's action and the independent media company that is Radio-Canada.

To our knowledge, this is the first time that one of our offices has been expelled from a country in this way. And the only one to date to have suffered such a shutdown from all foreign media with a presence in Moscow.

Since the Moscow-imposed office closure, our correspondent Tamara Alteresco s strives to cover Russia from a distance and from neighboring countries.

Faced with this situation, we are studying different possibilities to stay on the outskirts of Russia, in particular that of opening a temporary office in a neighboring country to cover regional issues and its sphere of influence.

Another major focus of our coverage is China, which we have also covered through the eyes of our Radio-Canada and CBC correspondents for 40 years now.

Unfortunately, since the appointment of our new correspondent in Asia, Philippe Leblanc, and his visa application in October 2020, all our attempts to get him to settle there have been unsuccessful.

Meetings with the consul of Montreal and subsequent steps ended without success. Only our presence during the Olympic Games last winter in Beijing was allowed to us. And this, within a very strict framework.

In April, CBC and Radio-Canada Chief Information Officers Brodie Fenlon and Luce Julien wrote to China's Ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, again asking for a visa. for Philippe Leblanc in Beijing. We expressed to him all the historical importance of our respective countries and the impossibility of continuing to maintain an office like this if we cannot be there. We have since received a simple acknowledgment of receipt.

It was reluctantly that we finally made the decision to close our office. Unfortunately, Radio-Canada is not the only one to experience significant difficulties in its journalistic mission in China. Relations between foreign media and the Chinese government have historically been complex. They have become particularly tense in recent years.

Like many other media, we will continue to cover the news of this immense region, but we will do so from Taiwan. Philippe Leblanc will be based there for the next two years.

Of paramount geostrategic importance, this island of 24 million inhabitants located in the heart of this region of the world will also be the one of the points of tension in the coming years with China.

Like our colleagues at CBC, we hope that one day China will open up to our journalists again, just as we hope for an openness from the Russian authorities to relocate us to Moscow.

It is therefore with this new configuration of our international coverage that we will continue to cover as closely as possible, in the field, the course of a world in constant evolution. Journalism is a constant obstacle course. Our priority remains at all times to respect our mission towards you, that of offering you international information as close as possible to you.

Luce Julien is the general manager of the 'Radio-Canada Information

Ginette Viens is Senior Director, Programming, News, Current Affairs and Deployment at Radio-Canada

Our text is available in Traditional Chinese´╗┐´╗┐ as well as Simplified Chinese´╗┐

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