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Investigative journalism in China is suffering a blow. A veteran reporter who's been praised for his in-depth reporting on sensitive issues has now been left without a team. His department at an influential newspaper was dismissed earlier this week. His supporters say it may be a way to silence him.
Wang Keqin is known for his bold reporting on thorny issues in China. Now his investigative reporting department at the China Economic Times has been disbanded. The decision came on Monday, after a meeting by the paper's Communist Party Committee. Media freedom advocates fear it's yet another step towards more censorship under the communist regime.
A veteran investigate journalist, Wang pushed the boundaries of reporting in China. He covered issues such as the fatal distribution of bad vaccines and corruption. The editorial team of the state-run paper, the China Economic Times faced a reshuffle in May last year.
After being moved to another department, Wang declined to speak with reporters.
[Wang Keqin, Chinese Investigative Journalist]:
"According to the newest rules by the Times, we need the State Council's Development Research Center before speaking to foreign media. We need the editorial team's approval to speak with domestic media. So right now, we cannot accept any media interviews."
Wang's supporters believe authorities are targeting him for his open reporting.
[Tufu, Chinese Blogger]:
"I believe it's because of his long-term investigations, and exposing certain things others want to keep in the dark. Maybe they couldn't take it and wanted to take revenge."
Ben Jieming from Reporters without Borders praised Wang for his investigative journalism.