China recently announced that it would expel US journalists working for three major news outlets, following a rapid escalation of diplomatic tension between Washington and Beijing.
US journalists working for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post whose press credentials are due to expire in 2020 have been given ten calendar days to hand in their press cards.These outlets, as well as Voice of America and Time magazine, have further been asked to provide the Chinese government with details regarding their operations. In addition to mainland China, the targeted journalists will be prohibited from working in Hong Kong and Macau.
Geng Shuang, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, has announced that the decision is a response to the Trump administrations’ move to limit the number of Chinese citizens working for five state-run Chinese news organisations in the US, amid propaganda concerns.
Joshua Rosenweigh, the Head of the China team at Amnesty International, has described the expulsion as a “shameful assault on freedom of expression” at a time when the world needs to come together to tackle the devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. He further notes that the targeted journalists and publications have provided in-depth investigations into the virus outbreak in Wuhan, as well as numerous human rights violations in the country.