China says it will not renew press credentials for a French journalist, effectively throwing her out of the country.
It comes after Ursula Gauthier questioned an official line equating violence in China’s western Muslim region with global terrorism.
Gauthier, a journalist with magazine L’Obs, says she is prepared to leave the country.
Once she departs on 31 December, she will become the first foreign journalist forced to leave China since 2012, when American Melissa Chan, then working for Al Jazeera in Beijing, was expelled.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said that Gauthier was no longer “suitable” to be allowed to work in China because she had supported “terrorism and cruel acts” that killed civilians and refused to apologise for her words.
In a statement on Friday, the French foreign ministry said: “We regret that the visa of Madame Ursula Gauthier was not renewed. France recalls the importance of the role journalists play throughout the world.”