Key Points:

An accredited New Zealand journalist was escorted out of the final Apec media session in Sydney because Chinese officials felt "uneasy" at her presence.

Auckland-based Sarah Matheson, a journalist for the Epoch Times, was taken aside yesterday by security guards during the final leader declaration photo opportunity amid fears she would shout questions at Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The Epoch Times is a global newspaper and website that reports extensively on human rights issues inside China.

Ms Matheson had been ferried to Government House for the photo opportunity from the media centre in Darling Harbour, along with other accredited journalists.

According to the Epoch Times website, a security guard approached Ms Matheson, 24, and said Chinese officials had made a complaint about the newspaper being present at the ceremony.

"We have copped a huge amount of flak from the Chinese. They are afraid you are going to speak out," the guard was quoted as saying.

He then asked Ms Matheson if she would yell anything out, to which she replied: "No - it would not be good for the newspaper or Australia if I yelled something out."

The security guard then said: "To put my Chinese colleagues at ease, I am going to put one of our female officers beside you. I think the Prime Minister would kill me if anything happened."

Ms Matheson said 10 minutes later a police officer escorted a group of 10-15 journalists to the side of Government House, out of view of the original photo opportunity.

Three black-suited Chinese agents appeared on the scene shortly after.

She said Apec media staff then moved the group to another site where they were permitted to photograph Australian Prime Minister John Howard shaking hands with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and other leaders.

The journalists were then ferried back to the media centre.

Until yesterday, Ms Matheson covered the Apec summit without incident, having been given the all-clear by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and Australian Federal Police, like all other accredited media.

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesman Paul Molloy said he was not aware of yesterday's incident.

- NZPA