Beijing: China on Wednesday revoked the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal (WSJ) journalists in a rare decision to expel multiple journalists in one sweep as a response to what Beijing called a “racial” opinion piece published in the newspaper earlier this month.
The three expelled Beijing-based reporters, two of them US nationals and one an Australian citizen, are not known to have contributed to the piece titled “China is the Real Sick Man of Asia”, written by US-based professor, Walter Russel Mead.
Deputy bureau chief Josh Chin, reporter Chao Deng as well as reporter Philip Wen, have been ordered to leave the country in five days, according to a WSJ report.
The decision comes a day after Washington designating five Chinese state media outlets as “foreign missions”, requiring them to comply with rules meant for diplomatic missions and consulates.
On the journalists’ expulsion, the Chinese foreign ministry said it had asked WSJ to apologize for publishing the article but took action after the newspaper didn’t comply with Beijing’s demand.
Announcing the decision to revoke the press credentials of the three journalists, the Chinese foreign ministry said the piece “smears” the efforts of the Chinese to fight the coronavirus (covid-19) outbreak.
“On February 3, the WSJ published an article titled “China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia” by Professor Walter Russell Mead of the Bard College, which smears the efforts of the Chinese government and people on fighting the epidemic,” ministry spokesperson, Geng Shuang, said at the online ministry briefing on Wednesday.
“The editors used such a racially discriminatory title, triggering indignation and condemnation among the Chinese people and the international community,” Geng said.
Earlier, Geng criticized the US’s decision to designate five Chinese state media outlets (Xinhua, CGTN, China Radio International, China Daily and People’s Daily) as “foreign missions,” requiring them to comply with rules governing foreign embassies and consulates.
US officials had said these outlets are owned and effectively controlled by the Chinese government and that each meets the definition of a foreign mission.
“We deplore and reject the wrong decision of the US,” Geng said.