China on Wednesday expelled American journalists at The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.
The drastic move came as the two powers are feuding over the deadly coronavirus pandemic, with President Donald Trump provocatively branding it the “Chinese virus” and a senior official in Beijing promoting conspiracy theories of US involvement.
Beijing said it was retaliating for Washington s decision to cut the number of Chinese nationals allowed to work for its state-run media on American soil. The foreign ministry said that US journalists at the three newspapers, whose press cards were due to expire later this year, must notify the foreign ministry within four days starting Wednesday and hand back their credentials within 10 days.
“They 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 statement said.
Beijing also ordered Voice of America, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and Time magazine to declare in writing their staff, finances, operations and real estate in China — rules similar to those recently imposed on Chinese state media by Washington.
The foreign ministry said the measures “are entirely necessary and reciprocal” moves 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,” it said. AFP