On Sunday, the US warned China not to interfere with American journalists working in Hong Kong. Tension between the two nations escalated over press freedom and several other issues. Both sides have expelled each other’s reporters in tit-for-tat moves over recent months as they trade barbs over the coronavirus pandemic and US President Donald Trump threatens to impose fresh trade tariffs.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement, “It has recently come to my attention that the Chinese government has threatened to interfere with the work of American journalists in Hong Kong,”
“These journalists are members of a free press, not propaganda cadres.”
The statement comes as the latest response after Beijinh expelled more than a dozen American reporters. However, Pompeo did not separately criticize China or gave any specific examples of what he was referring to.
“Any decision impinging on Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedoms as guaranteed under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law would inevitably impact our assessment of One Country, Two Systems and the status of the territory,” Pompeo said.
To ensure rights and freedoms in Hong Kong, it was handed back to China from Britain in 1997 and is currently ‘One Country, Two Systems’ arrangements.The semi-autonomous city is a major regional base for international media partly because it boasts certain liberties denied on the authoritarian mainland.
China dismissed three journalists in February, from The Wall Street Journal after the newspaper published an article headlines Beijing deemed racist. Few weeks later, Washington curbed the number of Chinese nationals from state-run news outlets in the United States. Taking a tit-for-tat action, Beijing in March expelled more than a dozen journalists from the New York Times, The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. Beijing said the expelled journalists will not be permitted to work in mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau.