China expels Wall Street Journal reporters for 'Sick Man' headline

China expels Wall Street Journal reporters over coronavirus editorial

While China has declined to approve press credentials for foreign journalists before, it's rare for authorities to punish three reporters at once from the same news organization.

Deputy bureau chief Josh Chin and reporter Chao Deng, both U.S nationals, as well as reporter Philip Wen, an Australian national, have all been ordered to leave China within five days.

The statement released by China also said that even though the three journalists were expelled other journalists from various other countries will continue to receive support and convenience in accordance with global practices.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the February 3 op-ed by Bard College Professor Walter Russel Mead "smears the efforts of the Chinese government and people on fighting (the virus) epidemic". He accused the newspaper of "parrying and dodging its responsibility. It has neither issued an official apology nor informed us of what it plans to do with the persons involved", he added. It pointed out that none of the three reporters had any involvement with the opinion piece or its headline. Given the accumulated costs of decades of state-driven lending, massive malfeasance by local officials in cahoots with local banks, a towering property bubble, and vast industrial overcapacity, China is as ripe as a country can be for a massive economic correction.

The three journalists work in The Wall Street Journal's news section, which is not linked to the editorial and opinion section.

The June 30 report said Australian authorities were looking into the activities of one of Xi's cousins as part of investigations into organised crime, money laundering and alleged Chinese influence-peddling.

The phrase is a spin off of the term "sick man of Europe", a moniker for the declining Ottoman Empire in the 1850s but has since been applied to a number of European countries experiencing a downturn in fortunes.

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In 2019 Reporters Without Borders ranked the country 177 of 180 countries for press freedom, after measuring media independence, respect for safety and freedom of journalists, and pluralism.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier said that the designation was long overdue, claiming the media outlets in question have been "mouthpieces of the Chinese Communist Party".

China's foreign ministry responded to the move by demanding the U.S.

"The Chinese people do not welcome media that use racially discriminatory languages and maliciously slander and attack China", Geng told an online press briefing Wednesday.

China in recent years has become more assertive in its demands for compliance from companies and media outside its borders. Multiple foreign reporters have been effectively expelled over the past five years.

Wen and Chin, two of the three reporters expelled on Wednesday, have reported extensively for the Journal on the forced detention of more than one million Uighur Muslims in the western region of Xinjiang.

Simultaneously revoking press credentials of three correspondents is an unprecedented form of retaliation against foreign journalists in China. The eviction of foreign reporters amounts to "blaming the outside world for what the Chinese can not handle properly themselves", said Willy Lam, an expert in Chinese politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

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