When altogether nine foreign journalists (American journalists included) are denied visas to China since 2013, that's called "suppression of freedom of expression." But did you know that 21 Chinese journalists have been denied visas to the U.S. since 2018? Well, I guess this is just "bad luck."
When the American journalists enjoy multiple entries into China, they don't seem to bother that their Chinese counterparts get a single entry visa into the U.S.
And guess how many American media outlets operate in China? Twenty-nine, compared to only nine Chinese outlets in the U.S. A little lopsided you think?
When the U.S. Embassy requires Chinese journalists to fill out long questionnaires related to their private lives and detailed information about the media they work for, there is no international uproar. But when American journalists got their visa stays shortened, there was orchestrated clamor around the world.
Meanwhile, after three Wall Street Journal employees had their press credentials revoked and had to leave China, the U.S. instigated a public outcry, accusing China of "surveillance, harassment and intimidation."
Now, as the U.S. looks to expel 60 Chinese journalists, it says it's because China needs to be punished for its "systematic stifling of press freedoms." Absolutely no irony there.
Chinese journalists are being forced out even though they have respected American values, upheld journalistic ethics, and maintained accuracy, fairness and impartiality in their reporting.
Meanwhile, American journalists are allowed to stay in China, even though they defy Chinese values and social norms, and attempt to stoke anger, instigate fear and resentment, and sow seeds of hatred among the public against the government.
But this time, since the U.S. has kicked off the game, China responded in kind.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the following reciprocal measures on March 18, effective immediately:
First, in response to the U.S. designation of five Chinese media agencies as "foreign missions," China demands, in the spirit of reciprocity, that the China-based branches of Voice of America, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Time declare in written form information about their staff, finance, operation and real estate in China.
Second, in response to the U.S. slashing the staff size of Chinese media outlets in the U.S., which is expulsion in all but name, China demands that journalists of U.S. 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.
Third, in response to the discriminatory restrictions the U.S. has imposed on Chinese journalists with regard to visa, administrative review and reporting, China will take reciprocal measures against American journalists.
However, we as journalists call for a truce in this ever escalating media war because we have better things to do and common enemies to fight like diseases, poverty, climate change, terrorism and religious extremism.
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