In a major development, China has revoked the credentials of three US journalists who work at The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post, allegedly as an act of retaliation after US President Donald Trump called coronavirus the ‘Chinese virus’.
The escalation of a media war between the United States and China in the midst of a global pandemic has resulted in US journalists belonging to controversial media outlets being expelled from China. The journalists will not be permitted to work in Hong Kong or Macao.
Reportedly, the escalation started after President Trump tweeted on Monday referring to COVID-19 as ‘Chinese Virus’ in a direct attack on China for the spread of the global pandemic. “The United States will be powerfully supporting those industries, like Airlines and others, that are particularly affected by the Chinese Virus. We will be stronger than ever before,” tweeted US President Donald Trump.
Donald Trump had also barred five Chinese journalists from working in the US earlier this year.
However, the Chinese establishment who seems to have got angered by the direct remarks of the US President Trump has now retaliated by banning the journalists belonging to three controversial US media outlets.
China has demanded 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,” read the statement released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China on Tuesday.
In response to the discriminatory restrictions, China will also take reciprocal measures against American journalists. Earlier, the US has imposed on Chinese journalists with regard to visa, administrative review and reporting.
“What the US has done is exclusively targeting Chinese media organizations, and hence driven by a Cold War mentality and ideological bias,” a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry claimed that the US has seriously tarnished the reputation and image of Chinese media organizations, seriously affected their normal operation in the US. Further, the Foreign Office stated that the ban had seriously disrupted people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two countries. It has therefore exposed the hypocrisy of the self-styled advocate of press freedom, it added.
China also urged the United States to swiftly change its course and “undo the damage.”