Editor's Note: The following article is taken from the Chinese-language opinion column "The Real Point".
China announced on Wednesday countermeasures against the restrictive measures Washington had introduced to curb Chinese media agencies in the United States. Beijing's move does not come unexpectedly. It has been forced to take a stand against U.S. oppression and protect the rights of Chinese media.
Since 2018, more than 30 Chinese journalists have had their visas indefinitely delayed or even rejected by the U.S. side. Nine have been effectively expelled through the non-renewal of visas. In February, it designated five Chinese media entities there as "foreign missions" and then in March imposed a cap on the number of their employees, in effect expelling dozens of Chinese journalists from the country.
In response to the restrictions, Beijing reciprocated with the following measures:
- In response to Washington's designation of five Chinese media entities in the U.S. as "foreign missions", China demands that the China-based branches of five U.S. media outlets, namely, Voice of America, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and Time, declare in written form information about their staff, finances, operations and real estate in China.
- In response to the U.S. slashing the staff size of Chinese media outlets, which is literally expulsion, 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 this year return their press cards within ten days.
- In response to the discriminatory restrictions imposed by Washington on Chinese journalists regarding visas, administrative review and reporting, China says it will take reciprocal measures against U.S. journalists.
What Beijing wants is fair treatment to Chinese media outlets and their staff in the United States.
For decades, Chinese journalists in the United States have strictly abided by U.S. laws and regulations, as well as the professional code of ethics. They have not only brought stories about China to Americans but have also introduced what's been going on in the United States to the Chinese public. They've played a very important role in Sino-U.S. cultural exchanges.
The increased pressure Washington has exerted on Chinese media outlets since 2018 goes against the "freedom of the press" it advocates. It has nothing to do with any wrongdoings of Chinese media organizations but is political oppression and bullying closely linked to Washington's strategy based on Cold War thinking and ideological bias. The United States has gradually escalated its containment of China in political, economic and scientific fields since naming China as a strategic competitor in its National Security Strategy in 2017.
However, such suppression won't make the United States more powerful. As David Gosset, the founder of the Europe-China Forum, has pointed out, it only reveals the weakness of Washington. He added it's becoming increasingly clear that Sinophobia in the 21st century is a manifestation of the West's own insecurity.
Some have claimed that U.S. oppression of the five Chinese media outlets was a response to China's long-term "suppression" of foreign media. But that's twisting the facts. China has always welcomed foreign media to cover China comprehensively and objectively, providing support and convenience for hundreds of foreign journalists as they report from China in accordance with the law.
China's countermeasures are not aimed at creating further trouble. It is to remind the U.S. to correct its improper actions that are causing new uncertainty, which is the last thing needed for an already strained Sino-U.S. relationship.