China Expels American Journalists in Apparent Tit-for-Tat

  • The New York Times says China has made a big mistake by isolating itself.
  • The Wall Street Journal says that this expulsion is an unprecedented attack on freedom of expression.
  • The two countries have been attacking each other since the beginning, and have been accused of spreading false information.

China announced Tuesday that it will expel at least six American journalists, bringing heavy criticism upon the country. The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal say they were preparing detailed reports on the epidemic soon after the outbreak of the virus in Wuhan, China.

The Wall Street Journal (#2), New York Times (#3), and Washington Post (#6), are, by circulation, among the United States’ largest newspapers.

The New York Times says China has made a big mistake by isolating itself. The Wall Street Journal says that this expulsion is an unprecedented attack on freedom of expression. However, China says it has made the decision in response to the restrictions imposed on Chinese journalists working in the United States.

Analysts say when the world, including China, is struggling to cope with the coronavirus epidemic, this war will be affected by the two most powerful countries in the world. The two countries have been attacking each other since the beginning, and have been accused of spreading false information. President Trump has already angered China by calling the coronavirus “Chinese.” In response, Beijing says Washington is trying to discredit China by making such comments.

The coronavirus was first found in Wuhan, China, late last year. However, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry has alleged that American troops brought the virus to Wuhan instead. The Foreign Ministry says US journalists will have to return their press cards to the authorities within ten days. At the same time, they asked for details about the kind of work these journalists did in China.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), also known as 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease (2019-nCoV ARD), and novel coronavirus pneumonia (NCP) is a viral respiratory disease caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). It was first detected during the 2019–20 Wuhan coronavirus outbreak.

“We urge the US to take off its ideological prejudice, abandon cold war mentality,” the Foreign Ministry spokesman said. “China is not one to start trouble, but it will not blink if trouble comes. We urge the US side to immediately stop suppressing Chinese media, otherwise, the US side will lose even more.”

Due to Beijing’s ban, these journalists are no longer able to work in mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau, their semi-autonomous areas. Journalists in these two regions enjoy more freedom than the mainland of China. The Trump administration earlier limited the number of Chinese citizens in the US to work as reporters.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also urged China to reconsider their decision. Foreign journalists who work in China have to renew their media passes or work permits every year. That is usually done at the end of the year. Because of China’s decision, the US journalists will have to leave the country because their visas have already expired.

This will hurt the work of US news media in China, especially The Wall Street Journal, because three of their journalists were expelled from China last month. It is said that the United States has ordered the reduction of the number of Chinese journalists in their country following the expulsion of two journalists in February, because of an editorial in the Wall Street Journal.

Critics say such a decision could be even more damaging to China when journalists around the world, including China, need to be guaranteed due to the coronavirus.

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Joyce Davis

My history goes back to 2002 and I  worked as a reporter, interviewer, news editor, copy editor, managing editor, newsletter founder, almanac profiler, and news radio broadcaster.

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