China is expelling a French journalist who questioned its treatment of its Muslim Uighur minority in the north-western region of Xinjiang, her employer, the weekly l’Obs news magazine, has said.

 French journalist Ursula Gauthier
French journalist Ursula Gauthier

Ursula Gauthier, the magazine’s Beijing correspondent, needs to leave China by 31 December after authorities refused to renew her visa.

Shortly after publishing a story that suggested China was using the Paris attacks to justify crackdowns on Uighur people, Gauthier was the subject of editorials in state-controlled media and even death threats, L’Obs said.

Several media reported that the Chinese ministry of foreign affairs had asked her to publicly withdraw her report.

L’Obs, which changed its name from Le Nouvel Observateur in October 2014, stood by its correspondent.

It wrote in an editorial that her eviction represented a “major incident” at a time when France and China were strengthening their economic, cultural and diplomatic ties.

The French foreign ministry on Friday issued a terse statement in which it regretted that her visa was not renewed.

It said: “France would like to remind how important it is for journalists to be able to work everywhere in the world.”

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