China to expel New York Times, Washington Post reporters as a countermove to US

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on March 18, 2020 Published on March 18, 2020

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China has announced it will expel journalists from three United States (US) media outlets after the escalation of diplomatic tension between Washington and Beijing, CNN Business reported.

The order from Chinese authorities have asked US nationals working for the New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal to return their press accreditation within 10 days if their credentials expire before the end of 2020. The move will impact the reporting of all three organizations, while it is still unclear how many journalists will be affected by the move.

The government said that the reporters are barred from covering mainland China. They will also not be allowed to do so in the semi-autonomous cities of Macao or Hong Kong, preferred destinations for journalists previously blocked by Beijing, CNN Business report added.

The US-China spat

China made the call of barring US nationals from reporting in China after the US brought five Chinese state media outlets under its administration and declared them as "foreign missions." US authorities also capped the number of Chinese journalists working for those outlets in the US, as per media reports.

The change in administration means the Chinese outlets will need the approval of the US government to buy or lease office space and will have to inform the US authorities about the change in place, workforce, among others.

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Wednesday: "In recent years, 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."

Responding to China’s move, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said "These aren't apples to apples in any respect and I regret China's decision today to further foreclose the world's ability to conduct the free press operations, frankly, that would be really good for the Chinese people, really good for the Chinese people in these incredibly challenging global times where more information, more transparency are what will save lives.”

China announced other countermeasures on Wednesday that will take effect immediately.

China has also placed restrictions over other international media outlets and described them as "foreign missions." China now requires the China offices of Voice of America, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Time to file written reports on all their staff rosters, finances, operations, and property holdings, CNN Business reported.

Marty Baron, the executive editor of The Washington Post, said in a statement to CNN Business that the newspaper condemned "any action by China to expel US reporters."

The Journal's editor-in-chief Matt Murray also condemned China’s counter move to the US and sees this as China’s unprecedented attack on freedom of the press especially came at a time when the world is witnessing unparalleled global crisis. He added that his commitment to reporting fully and deeply on China is unchanged.

Other media outlets that also voiced out against China’s move include The New York Times, Voice of America, and Time.

Published on March 18, 2020
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