Why CBC News will close its China bureau


We use this editor’s weblog to clarify our journalism and what’s occurring at CBC News. You can discover extra blogs right here. Read this weblog in conventional Chinese or simplified Chinese. 閱讀此部落格的繁體中文版。阅读此博客简体中文版。

Journalism isn’t stenography. 

Reporting isn’t regurgitation. 

Rather, journalism is the act of fact discovering and fact telling, guided by skilled requirements of independence, accuracy and impartiality. It entails gathering and testing information, difficult assumptions, holding folks to account and bearing witness as information occasions unfold — regardless of who’s made uncomfortable by our reporting. 

Being there

The greatest journalism outcomes from being current and on the bottom. It’s why CBC News sends folks into the sphere to cowl information at any time when and wherever attainable. We are there in communities throughout Canada, on the small and massive tales, on the “arduous” and “delicate” information, and all the time when it issues most, as we demonstrated just lately when Fiona slammed into Atlantic Canada.

And we satisfaction ourselves on worldwide information protection. As Canada’s nationwide public broadcaster, it’s our distinctive duty and privilege to ship correspondents out into the world to assemble tales Canadians need and have to learn about. This previous yr, for instance, we’ve got performed a rare quantity of on-the-ground war-zone reporting in Ukraine. We have deployed groups to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Poland, India, Barbados, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Kenya, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Brazil and Finland, amongst different locations.

A 3-person CBC News group spent 10 days in Pakistan in September, monitoring the devastating flooding that has displaced tens of millions and led to an ongoing humanitarian catastrophe. (Stephanie Jenzer/CBC)

Deploying reporting groups into nations when and because the information warrants is an efficient technique for masking the world, although the method can generally embody complicated visa functions and country-specific permissions. 

The different technique is to arrange extra everlasting bureaus, as we have performed in areas resembling Washington, New York and London. 


We are happy to now finalize the institution of a brand new India bureau, after almost two years of administrative paperwork, logistical challenges and one-off deployments. Our two-person group, reporter Salimah Shivji and video producer Glen Kugelstadt, will cowl this dynamic nation and the broader South Asian area from their base in Mumbai. 

We are glad the Indian authorities has signed off on our efforts to arrange our latest bureau, and by extension, CBC’s model of unbiased, fact-based journalism, of their nation.


Russia, sadly, has been one other story altogether. In May, after a crackdown on unbiased media and new legal guidelines that restricted what might be stated in regards to the nation’s conflict on Ukraine, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson abruptly introduced (throughout a information convention) that our bureau could be closed. According to the Russian Embassy in Canada, the transfer to strip our journalists of their visas and accreditation was in response to Canada’s ban a number of months earlier of Russian state tv station RT. 

The CBC’s Briar Stewart, centre, within the foreground, takes half in an interview with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Oct. 19. Stewart was beforehand based mostly in Moscow. She continues to report on Russia from exterior the nation. (Corinne Seminoff/CBC)

We had maintained a bureau in Moscow for greater than 44 years and we have been the one Canadian information group with a everlasting presence in that nation when the expulsion occurred. To our data, it was the primary time within the historical past of CBC/Radio-Canada {that a} authorities compelled the closure of one in every of our bureaus.

Our group of reporter Briar Stewart and producer Corinne Seminoff proceed to cowl Russia from exterior the nation. It is way harder, however it’s so vital at a time when Russia and its chief, Vladimir Putin, are contributing to a reshaping of the world order.


Which brings us to China, one other nation the place CBC/Radio-Canada has had an workplace for greater than 40 years. 

Our French-language service, Radio-Canada Info, utilized for a visa for its then-new China correspondent, Philippe Leblanc, in October 2020. Despite quite a few exchanges with the Chinese consulate in Montreal and requests for conferences over the past two years, there may be nonetheless no visa.

Meanwhile, CBC’s final Beijing correspondent, Saša Petricic, returned to Canada because the COVID-19 pandemic took maintain and China locked down. We have solely been again as soon as for the 2022 Winter Olympics, wherein journalists have been restricted to a tightly managed loop in and across the sport venues.

The CBC’s final Beijing correspondent, Saša Petricic, returned to Canada in 2020, as China — and far of the world — locked down because the COVID-19 pandemic took maintain. (Sasa Petricic/CBC News)

This previous April, my counterpart at Radio-Canada, Luce Julien, and I wrote to China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu. We requested as soon as extra the visa for Leblanc. As we advised the ambassador, “We nonetheless imagine within the significance of bearing witness to present points that have an effect on your nation. In the absence of a journalist on-site, we’re clearly unable to do that work and will have troublesome selections to make.”

Receipt of our letter was acknowledged and nothing else.

While there was no dramatic expulsion or pointed public statements, the impact is identical. We cannot get visas for our journalists to work there as everlasting correspondents. 

There is not any level conserving an empty bureau once we may simply arrange elsewhere in a special nation that welcomes journalists and respects journalistic scrutiny. 

Closing the Beijing bureau is the very last thing we need to do, however our hand has been compelled. Our dedication to masking China and East Asia is steadfast. We will start the method of discovering a brand new dwelling base within the months forward. Until then, we will deploy to the area when it is smart. And Leblanc will work from a brand new submit in Taiwan for the following two years.

We hope China will sometime open up once more to our journalists, simply as we hope Russia will in the future rethink its choice to expel us. 

We imagine everybody advantages from having extra unbiased journalists — not fewer — on the bottom and in key components of the world.

At its greatest, journalism is a seek for fact. When it involves Russia and China, at this moment in time, at the least, we will have to search out new and alternative ways to proceed to convey Canadians one of the best in worldwide and world protection of occasions and folks in these areas.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here