BEIJING (AP) -- The Chinese government said Friday that it did not expel a New York Times reporter who had to leave mainland China this week after he failed to obtain new press credentials.
China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said a visa application for Chris Buckley — who recently was hired by the Times — has remained in limbo because his previous employer failed to undertake the proper procedure when he left that company.
"Therefore Chris Buckley's application as a journalist for the New York Times does not meet the regulations of the Chinese side," Hua said. "There has been no such thing as a rejection of a visa extension and there is no such thing as Chris being expelled."
Though Hua did not name the former employer, Buckley worked for the Reuters news agency until October. Reuters had no immediate comment.
The 45-year-old Australia flew to Hong Kong on Monday with his family amid increased pressure on foreign journalists by the Chinese government, which is concerned over media scrutiny of its top leaders.
Hua criticized media coverage that characterized Buckley's departure from the country as an expulsion, saying it was biased against China.
"From the recent reports of certain media we can see that these media still look at China through colored lenses. They report on China with a stereotyped view. We hope they can keep pace with the times and report on China in an objective and just manner," she said.
The Times said on Monday that six other correspondents in China had their visas for 2013 renewed in a timely manner, including David Barboza, who wrote articles about the finances of the family of Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.
The newspaper, which is owned by The New York Times Co., said that the day it published the results of a long investigation, it found its English-language website and its new Chinese-language site were blocked within China, and they remain so.
Similar actions have been taken against Bloomberg News after it published a detailed report on the wealth of China's new top leader, Xi Jinping.