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China to expel US journalists in tit-for-tat move

The Chinese government has announced plans to expel China-based American journalists with three major US newspapers in a tit-for-tat move after Washington’s decision earlier this month to limit the number of Chinese journalists in the US.

According to Press TV, Beijing declared on Wednesday that all US nationals with press credentials expiring this year who work with The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post would have to hand back their press credentials within ten days and would no more be allowed to work in mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau.

It was not immediately clear how many US reporters would be affected.

The government also said that the China branches of the three dailies, in addition to the US broadcaster Voice of America (VOA) and Time magazine, must “declare in written form information about their staff, finance, operation, and real estate in China.”

The announcement drew strong reaction from the executives of the affected US newspapers and the hawkish US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who claimed at a Washington press conference that Beijing’s decision would “further foreclose the world’s ability to conduct the free press operations” that were “really good for the Chinese people.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry, however, said on Wednesday that China had been “compelled” to take the measures in response to “the unreasonable oppression the Chinese media organizations experience in the United States.”

The US had in early March imposed restrictions on Chinese journalists in the US. The Chinese Foreign Ministry had described those restrictions as “bullying” and pledged to respond in kind.