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March 27, 2020

Coronavirus : mass expulsion of foreign correspondents further cripples freedom of information in China

PHOTO: NICOLAS ASFOURI / AFP
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges the regime to reverse its decision to expel 13 US foreign correspondents today and insists that independent reporting is, now more than ever, critical in the fight against the coronavirus.

This Friday, March 27th, at least 13 US foreign correspondents will be forced to leave China precisely at the moment when Beijing claims it has reined in the coronavirus epidemic within its borders. On March 18th, the regime announced that American journalists working in China for The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal would have to leave the country within 10 days in a measure meant as a “reprisal” against Washington’s moves to limit the influence of China’s propaganda media in the United States.


Reporters Without Borders (RSF) urges Beijing to reverse its decision and allow the three foreign media to continue their reporting in China.


"Although China promises that the epidemic is under control, only independent media can confirm that this is indeed the case,” said Cédric Alviani, Reporters Without Border (RSF) East Asia Bureau head. “The targeted journalists provided some of the first and most accurate reports on the coronavirus epidemic and their departure will impair the possibility of the international community to follow the evolution of the crisis in China.”


A report published earlier this month by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China (FCCC) denounced an increase in harassment and acts of violence against employees of the foreign media and their sources in 2019.


China is ranked 177th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2019 World Press Freedom Index.