China has expelled three reporters working for The Wall Street Journal over a “racist” editorial, calling the country “the Real Sick Man of Asia.”
The country’s foreign ministry said Wednesday that it was canceling the visas of three journalists over the racist headline about the coronavirus epidemic.
"The Chinese side has lodged stern representations with WSJ and made our solemn position clear," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said in a statement. "China demands the WSJ recognize the severity of its mistake, make an official apology and hold the persons involved accountable. Meanwhile, we reserve the right to take further actions."
The Beijing-based Foreign Correspondents Club of China called the move "an extreme and obvious attempt by the Chinese authorities to intimidate foreign news organizations by taking retribution against their China-based correspondents."
"China has evicted fair and talented journalists who have worked hard to bring unbiased, informative reports to their audiences and to understand China," the association said in a statement.
The February 3 opinion piece was penned by Walter Russell Mead, a scholar at the conservative Hudson Institute and a professor at Bard College in New York.
Mead himself said at the time that “#Coronavirus won't be the last black swan to manifest in China, and its financial markets may be a greater danger than the wildlife markets.”