Washington: US President Donald Trump has said he was not happy over the expulsion of American journalists by China.
"I'm not happy to see it," Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday when asked about the decision of the Chinese government to expel American journalists from The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The Washington Post.
"I have my own disputes with all three of those media groups. I think you know that very well, but I don't like seeing that at all. I'm not happy about that at all," Trump said.
China on Wednesday had defended its decision to expel about 13 American journalists from three major US newspapers, saying it was "compelled" to take countermeasures after Washington classified Chinese state media outlets as "foreign missions".
Senator Dianne Feinstein said she is deeply concerned by China's decision to expel the US journalists.
"This is clearly an attempt to intimidate US media outlets and restrict their ability to report on events in China. Such retaliation against journalists sets a dangerous precedent that threatens the freedom of the press worldwide," she said.
"Some of the reporters being expelled provided early coverage of the coronavirus, helping us understand the threat we faced even as China tried to downplay the outbreak. We need rigorous reporting on vital stories like this," the Senator said.
Steven Butler, CPJ's Asia program coordinator, said China's expulsion of US journalists may enhance its ability to "block" investigative reporting into human right abuses in Xinjiang or its earlier "mishandling" of the coronavirus crisis.
"It is unfortunate that the US moves to restrict Chinese media operations gave China the perfect cover to suppress reporting that it has always complained about, under the phony banner of taking 'reciprocal' measures," Butler said in Washington DC.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that the expelled journalists would not be able to report from the special administrative regions of Hong Kong or Macao.
The Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong, in a statement, said it was "concerned by reports that they will be banned from working as journalists in Hong Kong, given that Hong Kong has its own system under which press freedom is a right according to the law". PTI