German, who researched on rights lawyers in China, expelled

Beijing: A German man has learned the hard way that practicing journalism in China, even for a class project, could lead to serious trouble. David Missal, 24, was pursuing a master’s degree in journalism and communication at prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing. He was due to return to Germany on Sunday after immigration authorities told him his student visa was cancelled and he had a week to leave China.

Missal said he thinks that was because he reported on the plight of jailed human rights lawyers in a journalism class. Missal said a Tsinghua representative this year warned him twice against pursuing the politically sensitive subject, but he went ahead anyway because he wanted to “get to learn Chinese society and politics”.

“In a way, I got to learn more Chinese society and politics,” Missal said. The action against Missal underscores China’s extreme sensitivity to foreign attention to the crackdown, word of which has rarely appeared in China’s entirely state controlled media and the policed Chinese Internet.

300 held in 2015

China detained 300 on July 9, 2015, as part of its biggest crackdown on human rights lawyers and activists. Several received sentences for subversion of power while a few still await sentencing.

(With inputs from Agencies)