China hints at retaliation over US 'bullying' of state media

The US move comes after China expelled three Wall Street Journal reporters in Feb 2020. PHOTO: AFP

BEIJING (AFP) - China on Tuesday (March 3) accused the United States of "bullying" and issued a veiled threat of retaliation after Washington cut the number of Chinese nationals allowed to work for Beijing's state-run media on American soil.

The US move comes after China expelled three Wall Street Journal reporters late last month, although the US said its decision was based on levelling numbers between the countries rather than retaliating over content.

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China "strongly opposes and condemns" the US announcement, adding that it effectively means the expulsion of Chinese journalists.

"Out of a Cold War mindset and ideological bias, the US State Department uses groundless reasons to politically oppress Chinese media organisations based in the US," Zhao said at a regular press briefing.

He said the move exposes "the hypocrisy of the United States' so-called freedom of the press as blatant double standard and hegemonic bullying".

Saying China reserves the right to react and take further action, Zhao added: "It was the US who broke the rules of the game first, China can only follow suit."

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