On Wednesday morning, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that US citizens working for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post are banned from working in China in response to recent restrictions placed on Chinese media agencies and personnel in the US.
A spokesperson for the ministry stated that US citizens working for the three publications in China must relinquish press credentials within 10 days and stop reporting on the Chinese mainland as well as Hong Kong and Macao.
In addition to pulling American journalist credentials, the ministry spokesperson said China is demanding that “China-based branches of Voice of America, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Time [magazine] declare in written form information about their staff, finance, operation and real estate in China.”
“In response to the discriminatory restrictions the US has imposed on Chinese journalists with regard to visa, administrative review and reporting, China will take reciprocal measures against American journalists,” according to a statement from the ministry.
The foreign affairs ministry also notes that the US government has placed “unwarranted restrictions on Chinese media agencies and personnel in the US, purposely made things difficult for their normal reporting assignments, and subjected them to growing discrimination and politically-motivated oppression.”
The statement concludes by saying:
“Foreign media organizations and journalists who cover stories in accordance with laws and regulations are always welcome in China, and will get continued assistance from our side. What we reject is ideological bias against China, fake news made in the name of press freedom, and breaches of ethics in journalism. We call on foreign media outlets and journalists to play a positive role in advancing the mutual understanding between China and the rest of the world.”
A day prior to the announcement, the All-China Journalists Association denounced US discrimination against Chinese journalists, citing recent moves by the US government to hinder the visa application process among other impediments. “The association urges the U.S. side to immediately stop the political oppression based on Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice,” reads part of the statement.
Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, issued a statement regarding China’s announcement to expel American journalists, saying that the decision comes “at a time when the world needs the free and open flow of credible information about the coronavirus pandemic.”
Having been reporting on China since the 1850s, The New York Times has more journalists in China than any other country outside the US, Baquet notes. “It is critical that the governments of the United States and China move quickly to resolve this dispute and allow journalists to do the important work of informing the public. The health and safety of people around the world depend on impartial reporting about its two largest economies, both of them now battling a common epidemic.”
Earlier this month, the US State Department announced a ‘personnel cap’ on Chinese state media outlets, and designated them as ‘foreign missions’ of the CCP. In February, China expelled three Beijing-based WSJ reporters, two US nationals and one Australian national, over an opinion piece published by the Journal. Deputy Bureau Chief Josh Chin and reporters Chao Deng and Philip Wen were ordered to leave the country within five days.
[Cover image via Pixabay]