China expels three WSJ reporters over opinion piece

February 19, 2020 17:17
China has retaliated against the Wall Street Journal after the newspaper published an opinion piece that was critical of Beijing’s initial response to the coronavirus crisis, among other things. Photo: Bloomberg

China has revoked the press credentials of three journalists of the Wall Street Journal after the newspaper declined to apologize for a column that called China the “real sick man of Asia”, Reuters reports.

Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China's foreign ministry, was quoted as saying at a daily briefing that Beijing made several representations to the Journal over the column, which China criticized as racist and denigrating its efforts to combat the coronavirus epidemic.

The newspaper failed to apologize or investigate those responsible, prompting the action from the government, according to the spokesman.

Geng did not identify the journalists whose credentials were revoked, but the Journal named the three as Josh Chin, the paper's deputy bureau chief in Beijing, and reporters Chao Deng and Philip Wen.

Chin and Deng are said to be US citizens, while Wen is an Australian national. 

The action comes after the United States said on Tuesday it would begin treating five major Chinese state-run media entities with US operations -- Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio, China Daily, and People's Daily -- the same as foreign embassies, requiring them to register employees and US properties with the State Department.

Geng told reporters that China opposes the new rules and that Beijing reserves the right to respond.

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