The Chinese government announced today that it would revoke the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters, the largest such expulsion of overseas media from the country in recent years.
What this is about: Chinese officials say the expulsion was due to an opinion piece the Wall Street Journal published earlier this month, entitled “China is the real sick man of Asia.” It criticized China’s initial reaction to the coronavirus epidemic and hypothesized what effect the outbreak might have on the country’s economy and political system.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) — a group of journalists based in China — expressed “deep concern and strong condemnation” over the expulsion.
The group said China’s move “is an extreme and obvious attempt by the Chinese authorities to intimidate foreign news organizations by taking retribution against their China-based correspondents.”
“FCCC member correspondents and their colleagues in China are suffering from an increasing frequency of harassment, surveillance and intimidation from authorities,” said the statement.
“The expulsion of these three WSJ reporters is only the latest, and most alarming, measure authorities have taken.”
China has not expelled a foreign correspondent since 1998, according to the FCCC.