Beijing, March 17: In retaliation to the United States imposing curbs on Chinese scribes, the government in Beijing announced a ban on US nationals in China reporting for top American publications. A statement issued by the Foreign Ministry said Chinese nationals reporting for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Washington Post will have to submit their press cards within 10 days after their current tenure expires.
The statement further added that they would no longer be allowed to report from any part of mainland China, nor from the autonomous regions of Hong Kong and Macau. Apart from NYT, WSJ and Washington Post, two more American publications - Voice of America and Time - will have to declare information related to their "staff, finance, operation and real estate" in China. 'Viruses Have No Nationality,' Says UNESCO After Donald Trump's 'Chinese Virus' Tweet on Coronavirus.
The measure, called as a "reciprocative measure" by the Foreign Ministry, comes nearly a week after the US declared top Chinese media firms as "foreign missions" since they are state-run and state-controlled. The media publications listed by the US are as follows: news agency Xinhua, broadcaster China Global Television Network, China Daily, China Radio International and People's Daily.
With them being declared as foreign mission, the Chinese nationals working for these publications in the US would be subjected to the same rules and restrictions as applied on embassy officials. The outlets would also be forced to restrict their Chinese employee-strength to 100, instead of 160 at present.
The media war between China and US, however, predates the action taken by the Trump administration. The issue erupted last month after Beijing expelled two US nationals and an Australian scribe who were working with the WSJ. While it cited a "racially discriminatory" op-ed as the reason for cracking down against them, the international community was unimpressed, calling it an assault on the freedom of press.