China said on Saturday that it will not renew press credentials of a French journalist over an article she wrote that critisised the country’s policy towards Muslim Uighers in Xinjiang. Beijing said Ursula Gauthier's article about unrest in Xinjiang supported "terrorism and cruel acts," which killed several civilians.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang has called Gauthier not "suitable" to be allowed to work in China because of her article. He wants her to apologise for her words.

"China has always protected the legal rights of foreign media and foreign correspondents to report within the country, but China does not tolerate the freedom to embolden terrorism," Lu said in a statement.

"We regret that the visa of Madame Ursula Gauthier was not renewed. France recalls the importance of the role journalists play throughout the world," the French foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday.

According to BBC, Gauthier, who works for French news magazine L'Obs, called the claims "absurd" and added that Beijing is actually trying to discourage foreign reporters to work in the country in future.

“They want a public apology for things that I have not written," Gauthier told the Associated Press. "They are accusing me of writing things that I have not written."

According to AP, China's problem with Gauthier began after her Nov. 18 article, in which she wrote that Beijing's declaration of solidarity with Paris after the deadly Paris attacks has a secret agenda. By showing its support to Paris, Beijing in return seeks international support for ethnic violence in its Muslim region of Xinjiang and wants the world to believe that global terrorism was responsible for it, Gauthier wrote.

She also said in her article that the violent attacks in Xinjiang involving members of the minority Uighur community appeared to be homegrown, and that there was no evidence of any foreign ties in it. Gauthier is not the only journalist who made this observation; the same has been said by many foreign experts.

If China does not renew Gauthier's press card, it will prevent her from applying for new visa and thus will have to leave China by Dec. 31. Gauthier would be the first foreign journalist to be expelled since al-Jazeera correspondent Melissa Chan in 2012.

Meanwhile, Chan has supported Gauthier in a tweet. Gauthier re-tweeted Chan's tweet to her.

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