The Chinese Communist Party announced on Wednesday Beijing time that it would ban American citizen journalists from several mainstream publications from working in China, claiming it a “reciprocal” measure to the U.S. State Department limiting Chinese state media staff to 100 Chinese nationals per media outlet.
The Global Times, a Communist Party propaganda newspaper, listed the new provisions as follows:
First, in response to the US designation of five Chinese media agencies as “foreign missions”, China demands, in the spirit of reciprocity, that the China-based branches of Voice of America, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Time declare in written form information about their staff, finance, operation and real estate in China.
Second, in response to the US slashing the staff size of Chinese media outlets in the US, which is expulsion in all but name, China demands that journalists of US citizenship working with the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post whose press credentials are due to expire before the end of 2020 notify the Department of Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within four calendar days starting from today and hand back their press cards within ten calendar 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.
Third, 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.
China does not allow the existence of any independent media within its borders. In autonomous regions like Hong Kong and Macau, however, China has long allowed journalism to thrive. Making the move of blocking American journalists from operating out of Hong Kong is a measure Beijing has previously refused to take.
China claims the expulsion of journalists from outlets like the New York Times and the Washington Post, which are harshly critical of President Donald Trump and his administration, is a move mirroring the limiting of operations of Chinese media outlets like the Global Times, China Daily, and the Xinhua News Agency, all of which answer directly to dictator Xi Jinping and are prohibited from criticizing Beijing.
“The above-mentioned measures are entirely necessary and reciprocal countermeasures that China is compelled to take in response to the unreasonable oppression the Chinese media organizations experience in the US,” the Global Times stated. “They are legitimate and justified self-defense in every sense. What the US has done is exclusively targeting Chinese media organizations, and hence driven by a Cold War mentality and ideological bias.”
The Trump administration designated five Chinese state media outlets — Xinhua, China Daily, Hai Tian Development USA, China Global Television Network (CGTN), and China Radio International — “foreign missions” last month because their purpose is not to share news but to promote the agenda of the Communist Party.
“Unlike foreign media organizations in China, these entities are not independent news organizations,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in February, explaining the limits on the number of Chinese propagandists allowed to operate in the United States.
At the time, China branded the restrictions a “ridiculous war against Chinese media.”
In announcing the new measures Wednesday, the Global Times condemned the limits set following the “foreign mission” designation, but it did not identify the action that initially triggered Washington’s response: China expelling two Wall Street Journal journalists in February after the newspaper published an opinion piece condemning the Communist Party for hiding the true extent of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. The expelled journalists were not involved in the writing or editing of the offending piece.