Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today made the following statement about the announcement by the Chinese government that they will no longer allow U.S. journalists from three globally respected publications—The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal—to receive press credentials in China.
“For American journalists in China, harassment and bullying sadly come with the job of seeking truth and accountability, but Beijing’s latest escalation is a serious escalation. This is a short-sighted and blatant attempt to tighten state control of information in China. But this clampdown has implications far beyond China: look no further than the global coronavirus pandemic to see what censorship of information can mean for the world.
"At this time of global crisis, countries should make every effort to ensure that timely, accurate, and unbiased news reports are available to as many people as possible,–not hide life-saving information.
"The Trump Administration has required Chinese state media to register with the Office of Foreign Missions, recognizing the fact that these so-called news agencies are in fact state-owned propaganda tools. Even so, the U.S. government didn’t prohibit them from operating in the United States, but simply limited their personnel to not more than 100 – which is still a larger number than U.S. media outlets are allowed to have in China. China’s response is escalatory and sets the stage for a harmful back-and-forth between the Trump Administration and Beijing.
“Furthermore, the Chinese government’s attempt to extend this restriction to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is a clear violation of Hong Kong’s right to self-governance of local affairs. I urge the Hong Kong government to ignore this prohibition on certain foreign journalists. Hong Kong must continue to uphold the free and open media environment that has made Hong Kong a great city.”
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