I came across an extremely misleading article on China expelling WSJ journalists, recently published by BBC.
The BBC article completely missed the point on why China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the WSJ piece was “racist”. It was structured in such as a way that it implies the content of the piece – critizing the authorities’ initial response, was considered “racist”, as cited below:
The WSJ article called the authorities’ initial response “secretive and self-serving” and said global confidence in China had been “shaken”.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the article was “racist” and “denigrated” China’s efforts to combat the outbreak that has killed more than 2,000 people in the country.
“The Chinese people do not welcome media that publish racist statements and maliciously attacks China,” Mr Geng said, without naming the journalists being expelled.
However, throughout the entire article, BBC did NOT mention the headline of the piece in question – “China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia”, which is the real reason why it was consiered racist in the first place.
This was mentioned in other news outlet such as NPR covering the expulsion story.
NPR further provided some background on the term “sick man of Asia”:
The term “sick man of Asia” was originally ascribed to China in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a pejorative referring to its weak internal governance and external position vis-à-vis European powers and the U.S. The recent editorial, or at least its headline, sparked a flurry of criticism in Chinese media.
If anyone from BBC is looking at this post, please consider revising the article to report the complete story and avoid selective reporting like this.
Here are the links to BBC, NPR and WSJ for reference:
- BBC article – Coronavirus: China expels Wall Street Journal journalists for article it deemed racist
- NPR article – China Expels 3 ‘Wall Street Journal’ Reporters, Citing ‘Racist’ Editorial
- Original WSJ piece – China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia