AAJA-Asia’s Statement on China’s Decision to Expel U.S. Journalists

March 19, 2020

The Asia chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) emphatically protests the Chinese government’s retaliatory decision to expel American journalists and ban them from working in mainland China and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau.

At least 13 respected U.S. journalists at the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post are impacted. Without a change, they must leave within 10 days.

AAJA-Asia condemns government interference with a free press anywhere in the world. China’s actions represent an attack against the basic right to be informed and the cherished value of freedom of the press. These actions are made even more dangerous and irresponsible during the global crisis of the coronavirus pandemic we all face together. The imminent contraction of factual information and quality journalism coming out of China put at risk the health and lives of millions of people around the world.

We call on both China and the United States to:

  • Be responsible and respectful actors
  • Quickly resolve the tit-for-tat retaliation against each country’s journalism and media organizations
  • Allow affected journalists to pursue their important work
  • Refrain from leveraging journalism visas and press accreditations as diplomatic weapons
  • Value journalism’s crucial role in informing citizens and dispelling harmful rumors and outright lies

AAJA-Asia will vigilantly monitor developments in this information crisis – and in particular the impact it may have on press freedoms in Hong Kong and Macau. In Hong Kong, the Basic Law safeguards the freedom of all journalists to carry out their work. It’s unprecedented that China is banning the affected journalists from working in the Special Administrative Regions.

AAJA’s network of editors, reporters, producers and freelancers across China, Asia and the United States remains firmly committed to fair and accurate reporting of the news to keep people around the world informed.

The AAJA-Asia Chapter Board