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Trump Admin Orders Chinese State Media to Reduce U.S. Footprint Following WSJ Reporter Expulsions

Journalists attend a news conference ahead of the opening session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) in Beijing, China, March 2, 2017. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

The State Department on Monday announced it would order five Chinese state media outlets to reduce the number of personnel stationed in the U.S. by 40 percent.

The outlets Xinhua News Agency, China Radio International, China Global Television Network,  China Daily and the People’s Daily, will be required to reduce personnel from 160 to 100 by March 13. The U.S. announced last month that each of those outlets would be treated as foreign missions, effectively requiring the agencies to report information on all employees to the State Department, including names, addresses and any property owned. Each outlet regularly broadcasts Chinese state propaganda.

Additionally, the U.S. will place various durations of stay on all Chinese journalists in the country on visas. There are currently around 3,000 such journalists in the U.S., while American journalists in China number in the dozens.

In Monday’s announcement, State Department officials cited a “longstanding, negative trend” in Beijing’s treatment of foreign reporters. The officials did not explicitly connect the decision to the expulsion of three Wall Street Journal reporters on February 19.

In that incident, China notified the reporters they had five days to leave the country after the Journal refused to apologize for an opinion column headline the Chinese government deemed “racist.” Publisher William Lewis subsequently expressed “regret” that China was offended by the headline, “China is the Real Sick Man of Asia,” but did not issue a formal apology, despite the urging of dozens of reporters at the Journal’s China bureau.

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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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