TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Tuesday (March 3) that the government would put a personnel cap on Chinese Communist Party-controlled media organizations in the country.
In a Twitter statement, Pompeo urged Beijing to respect freedom of expression and deliver reciprocity in the bilateral relationship. China revoked the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reporters in retaliation to an op-ed and expelled them on Feb. 19, one day after the U.S. State Department listed five Chinese media outlets with American offices as "foreign missions."
These organizations include Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network (CGTN), China Radio International (CRI), China Daily Distribution Corporation (China Daily), and Hai Tian Development USA. According to statements from a meeting held at the White House after China's retaliation, there are 500 Chinese reporters in the U.S., while only 75 American reporters are currently permitted in China.
A senior State Department official said on Monday that these five outlets employ approximately 160 Chinese citizens and pointed out that "the cap will bring this number to 100." They noted that Chinese citizens working for other media organizations in the United States are not affected by the cap, CNN reported.
According to CNN, CRI will only be permitted to employ two Chinese nationals. Meanwhile, China Daily will be allowed nine, CGTN 30, and Xinhua 59, while Hai Tian Development USA, which distributes the People's Daily, is not affected at this time. The cap will go into effect on March 13, but these companies are required to provide the names of the personnel who will be cut by March 6.
In its previous statement, the Chinese government said its decision to expel the journalists has nothing to do with the U.S. restrictions on Chinese media but is a response to the WSJ opinion piece, which referred to the country as the “Real Sick Man of Asia.”
"The WSJ published an article that smeared China with a racially discriminatory title, which reflects a disregard for basic facts and professional ethics. I want to ask Mr. Pompeo this question: if the WSJ has the freedom to insult, don't the offended have the right to fight back?" the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang (耿爽) said at the ministry's regular press conference.