While the official reason behind Buckley's apparent expulsion were not apparent, it is widely believed that Buckley was forced to leave due to a Times expose written by David Barboza that revealed the vast family fortunes of outgoing Chinese premier Wen Jiabao.
According to tweets from Beijing-based writer and Baidu employee Kaiser Kuo, Barboza and other members of the Times staff in China have not had problems with new visas.
Wen has strongly denied the accusations that his family were worth over $2 billion, and his lawyers had hinted at legal action against the Times. The New York Times' website has been blocked in China since the article.
A similar article about incoming President Xi Jinping's family finances resulted in Bloomberg being blocked, and reports of death threats against the authors.
Buckley, an Australian, had been working as a journalist in China for 12 years. His entire family were forced to leave the country. Garnaut describes Buckley as having a "a reputation in China for balance and rigour".
Earlier this year Al Jazeera's Melissa Chan was also refused a new visa for work in China. It is widely believed it was due to the strength of her reporting from the country.
UPDATE: The New York Times' own report on the situation clarifies the situation a little. Buckley had applied to transfer from Reuters to the Times for 2013, but the accreditation process had taken an unusually (suspiciously?) long time, forcing Buckley to leave.
The Times' new Beijing bureau chief, Philip P. Pan, is also waiting for his new accreditation, the Times reports.
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