Some US officials have argued that the expulsion of journalists contravenes the American press freedom principle.
The tensions between the United States and China were high, largely due to President Trump’s trade war. The two countries reached a preliminary trade agreement in December, but US national security officials continued to push other countries to reject Chinese technology and infrastructure projects, arguing that they pose security risks.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has tightened restrictions on civil society and freedom of expression since he came to power in 2012. This includes greater restrictions on foreign news organizations. Foreign journalists who live in China usually obtain visas that allow them to obtain residence permits for one year, but in some cases they have been reduced to several months – in an attempt to coerce journalists not to report issues such as Muslim mass detention in the Xinjiang region.
Matthew Pottinger, Senior National Security Council deputy, is a former reporter at the Wall Street Journal office in Beijing. He worked for three years on the Council, most of the time as Senior Director for Asia, and was a supporter of aggressive policies toward China.
Two of our Journalists, Josh Chen, an American and deputy head of the office in Beijing, and Philip One, Australian, flew out of Beijing on Monday. The third reporter, Zhao Ding, is an American, who is in the coronavirus containment area of Wuhan, where she was reporting. She is unable to leave due to quarantine measures.
The magazine declined to comment on the whereabouts of the journalists.
The expulsions led to an unusual reaction within the magazine. On Thursday, 53 of the newspaper’s reporters and editors, most of them from mainland China and Hong Kong, sent a letter to William Lewis, Dow Jones CEO and newspaper publisher, and Robert Thompson, News Corp CEO, Robert. Murdoch’s parent company, Dow Jones, criticizes the way senior editors have handled the fallout of the February 3 title. He said leaders should make a formal apology.
Over the weekend, Mr. Lewis told the authors of the letter that he sympathized with them but that they would not break the editorial decision-making process. He also pledged to maintain pressure to restore the credentials of the expelled journalists.