China announced plans early on Wednesday to expel United States (U.S.) journalists from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post in retaliation for U.S. curbs on Chinese media.
The move by China is the latest escalation in a tit-for-tat war between the two superpowers about media operations.
U.S. journalists working at the three publications whose credentials are set to expire before the end of the year need to turn in their press cards within 10 days, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement on its website.
China also demanded that three newspapers, along with Voice of America and Time magazine, provide information about their operations in China, including staff and finances.
Beijing said the announcement was a direct retaliation for U.S. caps on Chinese media, announced earlier this month.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused China of denying the world access to knowledge about what is happening inside that country due to the expulsion of journalists from three U.S. newspapers.
“They deny the world the capacity to know what’s really going on inside of their country,” Pompeo said during a news conference.
In February, China expelled three Wall Street Journal journalists in retaliation for a headline deemed offensive, even though they were not involved with either the headline or the article, starting the feud between the superpowers.
The New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet condemned the decision, calling it a “grave mistake”.
“The health and safety of people around the world depend on impartial reporting about its two largest economies, both of them now battling a common epidemic,” Baquet said, calling on both states to resolve the dispute.