China Boots German Student Who Reported On Human Rights Lawyers

The journalism and communication student wanted to "learn Chinese society and politics." Then his visa got canceled.



In China, even reporting on human rights abuses during journalism classes can lead to serious trouble.

Case in point: David Missal, a 24-year-old student pursuing a masters degree in journalism and communication at Tsinghua University in Beijing, recently discovered Chinese immigration authorities denied him a visa extension and shortened his residence permit.

While the official reason behind Missal's expulsion is not clear, the student assumes it could be his documentary on the plight of human rights lawyers that he recently submitted in class.

Although he had been warned not to touch upon the sensitive subject matter, Missal says he professor approved the idea.

Since July, 2015, China has been carrying out a controversial crackdown on human rights activists and lawyers.  About 300 people have been detained or interrogated so far.  

For his short film, Missal interviewed several detainees, including activist Qin Yongmin, with the help of lawyer Lin Qilei.

Yongmin's 2012 book, entitled, "Qin Yongmin discusses a peaceful transition,” which talks about constitutional democracy, got him a prison sentence of 13 years in July.

Missal also met Li Wenzu, the wife of detained lawyer Wang Qanzhang, who organized a walk in April to help raise awareness about her husband's case.

The student says his work didn't even reach a large audience. It was limited to the class and was viewed by hardly 100 people on YouTube.

Following his expulsion from China, he tweeted (posted above) that he was "sad to be forced out of this country which I still like because of all the wonderful people [I'm] leaving behind."

Banner / Thumbnail : ISAAC LAWRENCE/AFP/Getty Images

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