China Expels Three WSJ Reporters over ‘Sick Man of Asia’ Column Headline

Paramilitary officers wearing face masks stand guard at the Tiananmen Gate as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus in Beijing, China, January 27, 2020. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

China has ordered three journalists from the Wall Street Journal to leave the country within five days, the first time in decades that China has expelled multiple reporters from the same outlet simultaneously.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the move came after the Journal refused to apologize for publishing a headline China deemed offensive. The headline, “China is the Real Sick Man of Asia,” is for a column by Bard College professor Walter Russel Mead on the shaky financial foundations of China’s economy.

China has “demanded that The Wall Street Journal recognize the seriousness of the error, openly and formally apologize, and investigate and punish those responsible, while retaining the need to take further measures against the newspaper,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Wednesday. “Regrettably, what the WSJ has done so far is nothing but parrying and dodging its responsibility.”

“The Chinese people do not welcome media that publish racist statements and smear China with malicious attacks,” Geng added.

The expelled reporters are Deputy Bureau Chief Josh Chin and reporters Chao Deng and Philip Wen. The three work for the Journal‘s news division, which operates separately from the opinion section.

The expulsion comes a day after the U.S. State Department said it would treat China’s five main state-run news agencies as foreign government functionaries. State Department officials said that while reporters from China Radio, Xinhua, China Daily CGTN, and The People’s Daily will be allowed to operate in the U.S., the agencies must report names and personal details of employees to the U.S. government.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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