Shut Down or Shut Out? China closes the window to U.S. Media

President Trump at the daily coronavirus briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House last Tuesday.
Source: The New York Times

On March 2nd, following Trump’s travel ban from China, the State Department announced the expulsion of Chinese media outlets that worked within the U.S. While long-planned, this came in response to the Chinese government’s lack of information shard regarding the spread of the Coronavirus prior to the explosion of cases in the United States.

While the U.S. had waited for this opportunity to expel Chinese media from the U.S. this was reciprocated by the Communist Party in China, and China expelled reporters from The Washington Post, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. These reporters had given the world a look into the mistakes China made in reporting on the outbreak of the coronavirus as well as the reality faced by the Chinese people. While expelling Chinese journalists from the U.S. was meant to reprimand China for their failure to disclose fully on the virus, it backfired greatly, “’Given the fact that it’s vital to have good information out of China right now because of coronavirus, the U.S. decision was pretty disastrous timing,’” said Megha Rajagopalan.

While both the Chinese and U.S. governments are playing the “blame game” and attributing the expulsions to even the playing field, both sides had long awaited the chance to regain their privacy from the other. This issue is particularly tenuous for the U.S. as access into China by U.S. media reporters has been an on again off again game. While there is hope to re-stabilize relations in order to allow a necessary look into how China is coping with the virus, the timing could not have been worse.

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