China has expelled journalists from New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post in retaliation for restrictions on its news outlets in the US.
Bejing| China’s foreign ministry ordered reporters from the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal to return media passes within 10 days in a hugely damaging attack on foreign media coverage of the country – and an escalation of the showdown over the press between Washington and Beijing
The ministry also demanded information about their operations in China.
The measures were in response to “unwarranted restrictions on Chinese media agencies” in the US, it said.
China’s action also prohibits the newspapers’ journalists from working in the semi-autonomous regions of Hong Kong and Macau, where there is greater press freedom than on the mainland.
China usually gives journalists only 12-month visas and press cards, so the measure is likely to impact most correspondents. It will decimate some of the biggest newsrooms in China and force reporters with decades of experience covering the country to leave.
The order came weeks after the Trump administration limited to 100 the number of Chinese citizens who can work in the United States for five state-run Chinese news organizations that are widely considered propaganda outlets.
“What the US has done is exclusively targeting Chinese media organisations, and hence driven by a Cold War mentality and ideological bias,” China’s foreign ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Beijing to reconsider its decision, calling the move “unfortunate”.
“I regret China’s decision today to further foreclose the world’s ability to conduct the free press operations that, frankly, would be really good for the Chinese people in these incredibly challenging global times, where more information, more transparency are what will save lives,” Mr Pompeo said.