/China revokes Wall Street Journal reporters press credentials

China revokes Wall Street Journal reporters press credentials

A paramilitary police officer wearing a protective facemasks to help stop the spread of a deadly SARS-like virus which originated in the central city of Wuhan, stand on guard in front of the portrait of late communist leader Mao Zedong at Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on January 28, 2020.

Noel Celis | AFP | Getty Images

China said Wednesday that it revoked the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters based in Beijing in retaliation for a recent opinion piece printed in the newspaper.

The move marks the first time since the era of Mao Zedong that China has expelled multiple journalists from one international news organization simultaneously, according to the Journal.

“Chinese people do not welcome media that publish racially discriminatory and malicious slander on China,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said during a news briefing Wednesday. “In light of this, China has decided to revoke the press cards of the three Wall Street Journal correspondents in Beijing starting today.”

The spokesman identified the piece as a Feb. 3 opinion column by Walter Russell Mead, the headline of which criticized China as “the Real Sick Man of Asia.”

The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.

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