Earlier this week, I left China after five years as an Al Jazeera English correspondent following the decision by the government to revoke my press credentials. At a subsequent Foreign Ministry press briefing, spokesman Hong Lei did not provide a public explanation, only saying that “foreign journalists should abide by Chinese laws and regulations”. But I have not broken any laws. And I believe I have tried to cover China as honestly and equitably as one can. As I say goodbye to China, I think back to some of the issues and people we’ve covered ….
China is a country of contradictions. One minute you marvel at the speedy transformation, the new wealth, the great hope of many. Another minute, and in this case powerfully felt because it can all happen in one day, you’re disgusted by the corruption, the systemic problems of a one-party authoritarian state, and the trampling of individual human rights and dignity.