03/18/2020, 10.10
CHINA - HONG KONG
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Beijing expels US journalists amid increased demands for freedom of speech

The call also covers Hong Kong and Macao. New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal the newspapers affected. An attack on the "one country, two systems" principle. It’s an all-out clash between the two superpowers.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Chinese government has expelled journalists from three well-known US newspapers. The ban, which also affects Hong Kong and Macau, deals another blow to freedom of speech in China. Man believe that the state censorship imposed during the coronavirus crisis favored the spread of the infection.

The expulsion order affects The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) staff. It is a retaliation for the Trump administration's restrictions on Chinese media in the United States in recent days. The measures desired by the US government responded in turn to the removal of three WSJ journalists from China.

According to democracy and trade representatives in Hong Kong, Beijing's move is a clear violation of the "one country, two systems" principle, which has governed relations between the autonomous city and the Chinese government since 1997, the year in which the former British colony returned to the Chinese motherland.

Under the agreements with London, Hong Kong can maintain its system of freedom (political, social and economic) until 2047. In this sense, the democratic deputies of the city denounce that it is the local immigration office that must decide on the entry of foreign nationals, not the Beijing Foreign Ministry - unless they are diplomatic staff.

Last year, the three US newspapers gave great emphasis and coverage to the protests of the democratic movement in Hong Kong, in particular the brutal way in which city police often tried to suppress them.

However, the calls for greater freedom of speech and expression are coming not only from Hong Kong, but also from China. From Wuhan's doctors, to well-known intellectuals such as Xu Zhiyong, Xu Zhangrun and He Weifang, many in the country criticize the regime for having covered up the truth about the spread of Covid-19: They believe a free press  would have saved many more human lives.

Analysts say the Beijing decision opens another chapter in its confrontation with Washington. The two superpowers are already struggling with a trade and technology war, and with naval skirmishes in the South China Sea and along the Taiwan Strait.

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