CHINA’S RETALIATION AGAINST restrictions on Chinese state media’s US operations hit three of the publications whose reporting Beijing finds the most uncomfortable —the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.
They are also three publications for which the Trump administration has little love. Beijing may be calculating that Washington’s defence of them will not be whole-hearted.
Journalists of the three have been ordered to identify themselves to the Information Department of the foreign ministry within four days and return their press cards within ten days.
This applies to all journalists working for the publications who are US citizens and whose annual press passes expire before the end of this year. In effect, this means most US reporters at the three publications, in total several dozen. They are also banned from working in Hong Kong and Macau as well as mainland China.
In addition, the three newspapers plus Voice of America and Time are required to report details of their staff, finances and property holdings to authorities.
The measures follow the United States designating five state media outlets including the official news agency Xinhua as equivalent to Chinese diplomatic missions and requiring them to reduce their staffs to around 100 from 160.
Diminishing independent reporting on the ground from China by international media will remove one more barrier to Beijing’s ability to prosecute its policy objective of controlling the narrative about China’s role in the world.