US should stop media war against Chinese press
Published: Jul 02, 2020 09:43 AM

Photo: GT

China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Wednesday that the China-based branches of US media outlets of AP, UPI, CBS and NPR must declare in written form the information about their operations, including staff and finances in China within seven days as a countermeasure against the US listing of four more Chinese media outlets as foreign missions. As far as I know, China is determined to retaliate against the US for any trouble it finds in Chinese media organizations in the US.

It is very regrettable that the deterioration of China-US relations has impacted the work of the media of the two countries in each other. Neither Chinese nor the US media should bear the blame for escalating tensions between the two countries. As I said, our two countries might play the game of expelling diplomats of each other. The job of a journalist should be to report on the buzz, not to be part of it ourselves.

But to be fair, the actions taken by China and the US against each other's media organizations were provoked and repeatedly escalated by the US side. Since last year, the US began to systematically attack Chinese media outlets in the US, forcing the Chinese side to retaliate.

The US side said that listing the Chinese media as "foreign missions" is just a due process. In fact, their actions constituted a serious interference to the work of the Chinese media. Take Global Times for example, we set up a small organization in the US, registered a company, hired a few local staff, and did some related business. The US is always looking for trouble, which makes some of our employees deeply afraid of the impact on their safety and that of their families. In addition, some freelance writers in the US also felt the pressure, and some stopped writing for us. We can clearly feel that McCarthyism has climbed out of the grave and re-constructed a doctrine full of hostility towards China in the US society, which has directly hit us.

Affected by the "new McCarthyism" of the US, some of our writers in Australia and other places also have some concerns about their own safety. I didn't realize that press freedom in the West had so many restrictions, and it was more like a game within a certain range.

I hope that by today the China-US feud over the media organization can be settled. The US should stop engaging in new escalations. I hope the mainstream media in the US also exert influence on their government. If the US takes further action, as far as I know, China will certainly continue to make reciprocal countermeasures.

The US government only gives three-month visas to Chinese journalists in the US. Whether the US side can renew the visas of Chinese journalists in the US in time will certainly affect the stability of visa extensions for the US journalists in China. I hope is that reporters from both sides will not have trouble in this regard.

In particular, I would like to remind the US side of article 54 of the National Security Law for Hong Kong, which says the responsibilities the Office for Safeguarding Natonal Security of the central government in HKSAR and Office of the Commissioner of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in HKSAR include management of and services for news agencies of foreign countries in the Hong Kong. The US is said to have hundreds of journalists based in Hong Kong, and if the "media war" between China and the US continues, Beijing can choose more points of retaliation than the US side.

I still believe that peace is the most precious between China and the US. In particular, don't go after each other's media outlets. Journalism is getting harder all over the world. Incomes are becoming less competitive, but the work is more toilsome. The US, as a country that advocates freedom of the press most vigorously, shouldn't create more trouble for the Chinese media in the US, and please treat them with due respect. If Washington really wants to make the work of US media organizations in China easier, please pay attention to my suggestion.

The author is editor-in-chief of the Global Times. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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