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It has been a bad year for foreign journalists in China, to say the least. The year began with the expulsion of three reporters from The Wall Street Journal after the headline of an opinion piece referred to China as “the real sick man of Asia.” By March, more than a dozen journalists from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post had been expelled from the country on short notice. Four other foreign outlets were ordered to submit details about their operations in July, as Beijing escalated its tit-for-tat battle with Washington over media access.
American journalists in China were not the only ones caught up in these political spats. After two Australian reporters were abruptly questioned by Chinese authorities over a vague “national security case” in September, they had to shelter for days under diplomatic protection before the Australian government flew them out of the country in a dramatic escape. Already sinking diplomatic ties between Beijing and Canberra took a further plunge.