A food safety factory shutdown has Americans hunting for baby formula. Readying themselves for a covid-19 lockdown, Chinese in Beijing emptied store shelves. Emerging from lockdown, some in Shanghai are visiting well-provisioned markets. U.S.-China agricultural trade is booming, but many are still being left hungry. Food security, sustainability and safety remain issues.
PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China Takes Countermeasures Against Restrictive Measures on Chinese Media Agencies in the US, March 18, 2020
The Chinese government announced that five U.S. media organizations would be treated as foreign government entities. One, VOA, is U.S. government-controlled, the others are private companies. American nationals working for three of the organizations would be required to leave China, if their journalist visas are to expire in 2020.
China Takes Countermeasures Against Restrictive Measures on Chinese Media Agencies in the US
In recent years, the US government has placed unwarranted restrictions on Chinese media agencies and personnel in the US, purposely made things difficult for their normal reporting assignments, and subjected them to growing discrimination and politically-motivated oppression. For instance, in December 2018, the US ordered certain Chinese media organizations in the US to register as "foreign agents"; in February 2020, it designated five Chinese media entities in the US as "foreign missions" and imposed a cap on the number of their employees, in effect expelling Chinese journalists from the US. Such outrageous treatment prompted strong representations from China, in which China firmly objected to and strongly condemned the US move, and stressed its reserved right to respond and take actions.
China hereby announces the following measures, effective immediately:
First, in response to the US 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 US slashing the staff size of Chinese media outlets in the US, which is expulsion in all but name, China demands that journalists of US 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 US has imposed on Chinese journalists with regard to visa, administrative review and reporting, China will take reciprocal measures against American journalists.
The above-mentioned measures are entirely necessary and reciprocal countermeasures that China is compelled to take in response to the unreasonable oppression the Chinese media organizations experience in the US. They are legitimate and justified self-defense in every sense. What the US has done is exclusively targeting Chinese media organizations, and hence driven by a Cold War mentality and ideological bias. It has seriously tarnished the reputation and image of Chinese media organizations, seriously affected their normal operation in the US, and seriously disrupted people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two countries. It has therefore exposed the hypocrisy of the self-styled advocate of press freedom. China urges the US to immediately change course, undo the damage, and stop its political oppression and arbitrary restrictions on Chinese media organizations. Should the US choose to go further down the wrong path, it could expect more countermeasures from China.
China's fundamental state policy of opening-up has not changed and will not change. Foreign media organizations and journalists who cover stories in accordance with laws and regulations are always welcome in China, and will get continued assistance from our side. What we reject is ideological bias against China, fake news made in the name of press freedom, and breaches of ethics in journalism. We call on foreign media outlets and journalists to play a positive role in advancing the mutual understanding between China and the rest of the world.