The Chinese government announced that the credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters in Beijing will be revoked following an article that discredited the Chinese government and people's effort to fight the novel coronavirus.
The spokesperson from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the article published by the US news organization on February 3, titled "China is the real sick man of Asia," used the 'racially discriminatory title' which has triggered anger and objection from the Chinese people.
The spokesperson, Geng Shuang said during the online press release that news organization did not publish an official apology and has been dodging the responsibility. An article by the WSJ about the expulsion identified the deputy bureau chief Josh Chin and reporters Chao Deng and Philip Wen as the people whose credentials were being revoked. They are given five days to leave the country.
Several journalists took to twitter and other channels to condemn the Chinese actions and claimed it as one of the largest expulsion of overseas media from the country.
The extreme measure of expulsion
China has always been restrictive in its measures while addressing foreign media attention in the country. The country has shown visa restrictions towards journalists traveling to the country. Instead of providing with the standard one-year visa journalists are often given short term visas. It has been rare for a journalist to be expelled in the country.
The headline was written by the US academic Walter Russell Mead and had commented on China's initial actions towards coronavirus in Wuhan. According to a post in the Chinese twitter-like platform Weibo, the Chinese spokesperson said that the country handles foreign journalists in accordance with laws and regulations. He also said that the country's people do not welcome such racist comments and 'maliciously smear attacks on China'.
In an opinion piece by the Chinese Global Times, WSJ was asked to apologize for the comments made during the article. 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 international practices.
The previous time a journalist was expelled was when Wall Street Journal reporter, Chun Han Wong co-authored an article about President Xi Jingping's cousin. The incident occurred in August last year.