China expels 3 American newspapers’ journalists

18 March 2020, Beijing

 The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that it was revoking the press credentials for American journalists from three newspapers, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, requiring them to return their media passes within 10 days and essentially expelling them from the country.

Beijing also declared five US media outlets – Voice of America, The Times, The Journal, The Post and Time magazine – to be foreign government functionaries, identifying them as agencies controlled by Washington.

The move is a fierce retaliation against the Trump administration’s labeling on five Chinese state media as “foreign missions” last month. It also requires staff from the five US news organizations to report their personal, financial and property information to Chinese authorities.

The American journalists must return their press cards to Foreign Ministry within 10 days, and they will then be barred from working as journalists in China, including Hong Kong and Macau.

“These measures 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 US. They are legitimate and justified self-defense in every sense,” the Foreign Ministry statement said, SCMP reported.

“What the US has done is exclusively targeting Chinese media organizations. … The US approach to the Chinese media is based on a Cold War mentality and ideological bias, which has seriously tarnished the reputation and image of Chinese media organizations. … The US has been massively ‘deporting’ Chinese journalists in a disguised way,” it added.

Martin Baron, an executive editor of The Post, responded on Tuesday: “We unequivocally condemn any action by China to expel US reporters. The Chinese government’s decision is particularly regrettable because it comes in the midst of an unprecedented global crisis when clear and reliable information about the international response to Covid-19 is essential. Severely limiting the flow of that information, which China now seeks to do, only aggravates the situation.”

(with inputs from Agencies)

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