Trump officials consider retaliation for Wall Street Journal expulsions

Bloomberg reports (porous paywall):

The U.S. is weighing whether to expel Chinese journalists after China kicked out three Wall Street Journal reporters, part of a push by the Trump administration to show leaders in Beijing that it will resist restrictions on Americans working in China.

The administration’s options were to be discussed in a meeting of senior administration leaders at the White House on Monday led by Matt Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser who was once a Wall Street Journal reporter in Beijing, according to U.S. officials familiar with the deliberations.

In another bad omen for press relations, the Chinese foreign ministry has promoted the trollish Twitter firebrand Zhào Lìjiān 赵立坚 to spokesperson for their daily press briefings. He has already vowed that China will “not be a ‘silent lamb’ in face of malicious insults and smears.”

See also this piece by John Pomfret in the Washington Post: I was expelled from China for my reporting, too. It’s part of a larger strategy. (porous paywall):

In harrumphing about Western racism, the Chinese Communist Party is seeking to divert attention from the coronavirus now sweeping China.

—Jeremy Goldkorn