China should let journalists back

Spencer Batute, @batutie_

We at the Los Medanos College Experience condemn the recent expulsion of American journalists from reporting in mainland China.

During this trying time of pandemic, a tit-for-tat war, which encroaches on the free and open flow of information, is harmful to societies around the world. Press freedom is not only in the interest of American citizens, but of Chinese civilians as well — more foreign reporting means more room for truth in China. 

Without journalists from reputable publications, the world at large may not have known about the seriousness of the coronavirus situation in Wuhan, and could have been less prepared once the virus began to spread. The state media in China have downplayed the pandemic and censored suffering civilians, and have gone as far as to claim that the virus originated in the United States.

Such removal of foreign media marks the degradation of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Mutual cooperation is vital to the welfare of both nations, and even more-so during a period of unrest as we stand in today.

While Chinese officials argue that the U.S. started the currently evolving media conflict, we must remember the finer details in the cycle of retaliation: When the Trump administration ousted Chinese media workers last month, it did so because they were employed by Chinese propaganda outlets. Although it’s unfortunate that the hard-knuckled political diplomacy of both countries has chosen to include the press, we can still make distinctions over what types of press are at play.

In conclusion, we believe China should re-invoke the working rights of the expelled journalists because the presence of foreign press in China provides essential information regarding the spread of COVID-19, as well as ensures better bilateral relations between the U.S. and China.