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U.S. Journalists From 4 Major Publications To Be Expelled From China


All right. Two other stories now, which is you have 10 days to turn over your credentials. That was the message today from the Chinese government. They told U.S. journalists based in China, go home. The reporters affected work for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. This move comes just two weeks after the Trump Administration told several Chinese state media organizations to reduce their U.S.-based staff. NPR's Jackie Northam has been following these developments.

Hey, Jackie.


KELLY: So this announcement came from China's Foreign Ministry today. What more did they have to say?

NORTHAM: Well, this move targets American journalists working at these major newspapers whose press credentials are due to expire at the end of this year. And they'll have just over a week and a half to stop reporting from within China's borders, as well as the semiautonomous regions of Macao and Hong Kong. On top of that, the Foreign Ministry said that those three newspapers, plus the Voice of America and Time magazine will have to hand over detailed information about their staff, their finances and various other aspects of their news operations to the Chinese authorities.

KELLY: And do we know why and why now?

NORTHAM: Well, China's Foreign Ministry essentially said that this was a direct retaliation for moves made by the Trump administration in recent weeks. It first designated five Chinese state media entities as foreign missions, and then it capped the number of Chinese state journalists working at these organizations to a hundred. And you know, there were about 160 journalists working for these outlets. So about 60 of them had to leave, and Beijing was outraged at that time by this decision.

Today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said you can't compare the U.S. order with China's decision to effectively expel American journalists. Let's have a listen.


MIKE POMPEO: The individuals that we identified a few weeks back were not media that were acting here freely. They were part of Chinese propaganda outlets. We've identified these as foreign missions under American law. These aren't apples to apples in any respect.

NORTHAM: And Mary Louise, Pompeo also said that he regretted China's decision and hopes it will reconsider. And by the way, the editors of all three newspapers condemned these expulsions, calling them an assault on the freedom of the press.

KELLY: Jackie, do we know - is it just these three? Is that going to be it, or might other journalists be affected by this? I don't need to tell you NPR has bureaus in Beijing and Shanghai.

NORTHAM: We do, yes. To answer your question, at least in this round, it seems to affect just these news organizations. But you know, there are many other U.S.-based media outlets that do have bureaus in China and Hong Kong. Like you said, NPR has bureaus there.

CNN, The Associated Press, Reuters - none of these organizations are named in this order. But there's a hint that more could follow. The order said that China rejects what it calls ideological bias in fake news made in the name of free press. And it suggested that there would be further, quote, "reciprocal measures against American journalists." So at this point, it's unclear how many more journalists this will affect.

KELLY: Thank you, Jackie.

NORTHAM: Thanks very much, Mary Louise.

KELLY: That's NPR's Jackie Northam reporting there on the news today out of China and China's government telling U.S. journalists from three news organizations who've been based in China that they will be expelled.

(SOUNDBITE OF ANGEL OLSEN SONG, "ALL MIRRORS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Jackie Northam is NPR's International Affairs Correspondent. She is a veteran journalist who has spent three decades reporting on conflict, geopolitics, and life across the globe - from the mountains of Afghanistan and the desert sands of Saudi Arabia, to the gritty prison camp at Guantanamo Bay and the pristine beauty of the Arctic.