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Xi Jinping. Photo: Noel Celis - Pool/Getty Images

The Chinese government announced Tuesday that it will revoke press credentials for American journalists who work for the New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal and whose credentials were set to expire in 2020, retaliating for state media restrictions by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: It's an escalation of a media war — in the midst of a global pandemic — that will result in U.S. journalists effectively being expelled from China. The journalists will not be permitted to work in Hong Kong or Macao, which is typically what blacklisted journalists have done in the past.

Context: The State Department announced last month that it designated five Chinese state media outlets as "foreign missions," meaning they will be treated as arms of the Chinese government.

  • Around the same time, China revoked the press credentials of three Beijing-based Wall Street Journal journalists and ordered them to leave the country within five days, in response to an opinion piece headlined: "China is the Real Sick Man of Asia."
  • In March, the State Department announced a cap of 100 on the number of Chinese citizens who could be employed in the U.S. for five state-owned media outlets. The reduction from the current total of 160 meant that 60 Chinese nationals would have to leave the country.

Details:

  1. In retaliation for the five Chinese media agencies that the U.S. listed as "foreign missions," China will require five U.S. media outlets — Voice of America, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and Time — to submit written reports of their staff, finances, operations and real estate in China.
  2. In retaliation for the U.S. expelling employees of Chinese media agencies, the American reporters who work for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post must hand over their press credentials within 10 days. In the future, they will not be allowed to work in the People's Republic of China, including Hong Kong and Macao.
  3. In retaliation for visa restrictions the U.S. imposed on Chinese journalists working for state media, China will take "reciprocal measures" against American journalists.

Between the lines: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement echoes the language of reciprocity that the U.S. State Department used to justify the media restrictions it adopted in February.

  • However, the U.S. restrictions targeted Chinese state-run media, which are widely recognized as propaganda outlets. With the exception of Voice of America, the U.S. outlets affected by new Chinese restrictions are private.

Go deeper

European Super League faces collapse after English soccer teams quit

Fans of Chelsea Football Club protest the European Super League outside Stamford Bridge soccer stadium in London, England. Photo: Rob Pinney/Getty Images

The European Super League announced in a statement Tuesday night it's "proposing a new competition" and considering the next steps after all six English soccer clubs pulled out of the breakaway tournament.

Why it matters: The announcement that 12 of the richest clubs in England, Spain and Italy would start a new league was met with backlash from fans, soccer stars and politicians. The British government had threatened to pass legislation to stop it from going ahead.

Corporate America finds downside to politics

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Corporate America is finding it can get messy when it steps into politics.

Why it matters: Urged on by shareholders, employees and its own company creeds, Big Business is taking increasing stands on controversial political issues during recent months — and now it's beginning to see the fallout.

Church groups say they can help the government more at border

A mural inside of Casa del Refugiado in El Paso, Texas. Photo: Stef Kight/Axios

Despite the separation between church and state, the federal government depends upon religious shelters to help it cope with migration at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Why it matters: The network supports the U.S. in times of crisis, but now some shelter leaders are complaining about expelling families to Mexico when they have capacity — and feel a higher calling — to accommodate them.