April 7, 2020

Press Freedom

China

OPC Calls for China to Restore Three Wall Street Journal Visas

The Overseas Press Club calls on the Chinese Foreign Ministry to reinstate the visas of three Wall Street Journal reporters who have been ordered to leave China in retaliation for what authorities deemed a racist headline in a Journal opinion piece.

The three correspondents are Deputy Bureau Chief Josh Chin and reporter Chao Deng (both U.S. citizens) and reporter Philip Wen, an Australian national. All have been ordered to leave the country within five days.

The opinion column, which was published independent of the WSJ newsroom, referred to China as “The Sick Man of Asia” and it comes on the heels of a U.S. decision one day earlier designating five major Chinese media outlets as government entities. U.S. officials are increasingly concerned that Chinese journalists are being used to do government work, according to the Journal.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China condemned the action against the WSJ correspondents as “an extreme and obvious attempt by the Chinese authorities to intimidate foreign news organizations.”

This marks the first outright expulsion of foreign correspondents since 1998, though nine journalists, including some from The New York Times, have been expelled through non-renewal of press credentials.

“Many of those evicted from China are fair and talented journalists who worked hard to bring unbiased, informative reports to their audiences and understand China,” said the FMCC.