China has announced the revocation of press credentials from American journalists at multiple publications, the New York Times among them.
The surprise announcement also sees the removal of U.S. journalists from the Washington Post and Wall Street Journal. Below, read a portion of the statement shared by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China on Tuesday:
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 statement goes on to explain that these measures are "entirely necessary" and represent reciprocal countermeasures to actions from the U.S. including what's described as an "unreasonable oppression" of Chinese publications.
"What the US has done is exclusively targeting Chinese media organizations, and hence driven by a Cold War mentality and ideological bias," a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said. "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."
Moving forward, China is urging the U.S. to swiftly change its course and "undo the damage." Read the full statement here.
Also on Tuesday, Trump—who had received criticism for describe COVID-19 as the "Chinese virus"—defended his wording.
"China, uh, was putting out information, which was false, that our military gave this to them," he said. "That was false. And rather than having an argument, I said I have to call it where it came from. It did come from China. So I think it’s a very accurate term. But no, I didn't appreciate the fact that China said our military gave it to them—our military did not give it to anybody."