After the news that three Chinese journalists based in India, who represented the Xinhua news agency, were denied permission for extended stay in the country, reports have surfaced that the decision was taken because the reporters had been "indulging in activities beyond their journalistic brief".
Hindustan Times claimed that the journalists who represented the state-owned news agency in China "had come under the adverse attention of security agencies for allegedly indulging in activities beyond their journalistic brief".
The visas of the three journalists -- Delhi-based Bureau Chief Wu Qiang and two reporters in Mumbai, Tang Lu and Ma Qiang -- are expiring at the end of this month. All the three had sought extension of their stay by a few months till their successors arrived, but they have been asked to leave India by 31 July.
According to a report in The Hindu, the Chinese journalists' had travelled to Bengaluru and met Tibetan activists there. This had, apparently, become a serious concern.
But experts are viewing the decision as "needless aggravation" by India.
Mohan Guruswamy, chairman of the Centre for Policy Alternatives and author of Chasing the Dragon: Will India Catch-up with China? wrote:
After China blocked India's entry into the coveted Nuclear Suppliers Group last month, relations between New Delhi and Beijing have come under strain. Moreover, China has been unhappy with India's growing closeness to the US.
The Wire, however, reported that the government was not expelling the journalists, as Xinhua was not being asked to pack up its operations in India.
"Xinhua is welcome to post new correspondents in Delhi," government sources have claimed.
(With agency inputs)
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