Wednesday, 18 March 2020

China Expels Journalists From Major American Media Outlets

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that the Chinese government announced that it would revoke the press credentials of American journalists for major news outlets while demanding that the media outlets for which the journalists worked tell the Chinese government what they were doing. The news outlets included The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Voice of America and Time magazine.
The Times wrote, “China instructed American journalists ‘whose press credentials are due to expire before the end of 2020’ to ‘notify the Department of Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within four calendar days starting from today and hand back their press cards within ten calendar days.’” The government also said the journalists “will not be allowed to continue working as journalists in the People’s Republic of China, including its Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions.”
A Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said the decisions “are entirely necessary and reciprocal countermeasures that China is compelled to take in response to the unreasonable oppression the Chinese media organizations experience in the U.S. They are legitimate and justified self-defense in every sense. What the U.S. has done is exclusively targeting Chinese media organizations, and hence driven by a Cold War mentality and ideological bias.”
The move by the Chinese government is the latest salvo in the battle between the Trump administration and China. On Feb. 18, the Trump administration declared that employees of Xinhua, CGTN, China Radio, China Daily and The People’s Daily, the major Chinese news outlets, were government operatives. On February 19, China announced it was expelling three members of The Wall Street Journal; TIME noted, “Beijing blamed the expulsions on an editorial headline that called China the ‘sick man of Asia,’ but the expelled reporters had also written hard-hitting investigative stories about alleged human rights violations in Xinjiang, where Beijing has been detaining members of the Muslim Uighur minority in camps, and alleged abuses of power by Chinese leaders.”
The Trump administration cut the number of Chinese nationals working for China’s state-run media outlets in the U.S. by almost 50% on March 2. On March 3, Hua Chunying, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, wrote on Twitter, “Now the U.S. has kicked off the game, let’s play.” China then demanded an apology for the Wall Street Journal article.
As the Times reports, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club has stated that China has increased its targeting of journalists, writing, “Chinese authorities are using visas as weapons against the foreign press like never before, expanding their deployment of a longtime intimidation tactic as working conditions for foreign journalists in China severely deteriorated in 2019.”
TechCrunch noted:
China’s suppression of external dissent is also being mirrored with regard to its own citizens. While there was a bit of an open window for discussion as the government attempted to moderate blowback over its response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, internet censors according to The New York Times are now once again clamping down hard on negative conversations and adding additional reinforcements to police online discussions

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