On July 30, 2021, China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian held a regular press conference.
Bloomberg: Today, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter that Washington is deeply concerned about the harassment and intimidation of journalists from overseas, adding the Beijing can and must do better, in his word. Separately, the US State Department spokesman Ned Price said that Chinese official state media promoted harsh rhetoric toward any news China perceives to be critical of PRC policies. What is your comment?
Zhao Lijian: We firmly reject these US remarks. The US statement is no different from the one by the so-called FCCC a few days ago. Both disregard facts, distort right and wrong, and attempt to pressure China with unfounded allegations. The erroneous action once again exposed the US side's hegemony, bullying and double standard on media and press freedom. China categorically rejects it. I already made clear our position on the false accusations yesterday. As to the foreign journalists who violated Chinese regulations, we have lodged representations with relevant individuals and institutions.
Speaking of censorship, harassment and intimidation of journalists, the US should not forget the following facts. Since 2018, the US has denied visa to more than 20 Chinese journalists without cause. It has designated several Chinese media's US offices as foreign missions and placed a cap on their number of staff, expelling in all but name 60 Chinese journalists. It has also imposed the discriminatory restrictive measure of issuing to all Chinese journalists' a mere three-month stay visa. Many video records show how journalists covering the demonstrations after the Floyd incident were abrasively stopped by US law enforcement personnel or even physically assaulted. During the storming of the US Congress, many news outlets, including a Chinese one, were attacked by demonstrators at their usual live positions outside Capitol Hill. If these are not suppression, harassment, intimidation and threat against journalists and outright violation of their safety and press freedom, then what should we call them?
The US is just using press freedom as a cover to advance its real agenda of suppressing China. It is only trying to justify its open double standard, hegemony and bullying with a high-sounding pretext. With regard to the US, it is not just a matter of "can do better" on journalists and press freedom, but an urgent need to redress mistakes and seek improvement. The US should reflect upon itself and stop wanton attacks on China. One can only earn respect from others with proper self-conduct.