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How many US nationals were working for major US new outlets in China in mid-2020?

The Politicus
Oct 04, 2022 02:34 PM 0 Answers
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Back at the end of 2020, there was this spat:

In a sharp escalation of tensions between the two superpowers, China announced on Tuesday that it would expel American journalists working for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. It also demanded that those outlets, as well as the Voice of America and Time magazine, provide the Chinese government with detailed information about their operations.

The announcement, made by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, came weeks after the Trump administration limited to 100 the number of Chinese citizens who can work in the United States for five state-run Chinese news organizations that are widely considered propaganda outlets.

China instructed American journalists for the three news organizations whose press credentials are due to expire this year to “notify the Department of Information of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs within four calendar days starting from today and hand back their press cards within ten calendar days.” Almost all the China-based journalists for the three organizations have press cards that expire this year.

The announcement went on to say that the American journalists now working in mainland China “will not be allowed to continue working as journalists in the People’s Republic of China, including its Hong Kong and Macao Special Administrative Regions.” The two territories are semiautonomous and in theory have greater press freedoms than the mainland.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the decisions “are entirely necessary and reciprocal countermeasures that China is compelled to take in response to the unreasonable oppression the Chinese media organizations experience in the U.S.”

The statement also accused the United States of “exclusively targeting Chinese media organizations,” adding that it was “driven by a Cold War mentality.” The new limits imposed by the Trump administration effectively forced 60 Chinese employees of the state-run organizations to leave the country.

Reporters at foreign news outlets in China were among those who aggressively reported on the coronavirus epidemic in January and February, including in its earliest days, when it was a regionalized outbreak in central China and the Chinese government sought to play down its severity.

So if there were 160 [apparently foreign] employees of (the five) major Chinese press outlets in the US in late 2020, how many US nationals from major press organizations were working in China at that time? I.e. is 160 an outlandish number, possibly covering for side-ops?

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