Melissa Chan, a freelance journalist and former correspondent for al-Jazeera, where she reported from countries including China and Cuba, shared an important warning to White House reporters a day after CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta’s press credentials were revoked after his heated back-and-forth exchange with President Trump.
Sanders falsely accused Acosta on Wednesday of “placing his hands on a young” female. The intern can be seen on video attempting to rip a microphone out of Acosta’s hand. Sanders later shared what appears to be a doctored video of the incident to support her claims.
Chan was expelled from China in 2012 after her Al Jazeera press credentials were revoked by the Authoritarian Chinese government.
At the time, she wrote:
Earlier this week, I left China after five years as an Al Jazeera English correspondent following the decision by the government to revoke my press credentials. At a subsequent Foreign Ministry press briefing, spokesman Hong Lei did not provide a public explanation, only saying that “foreign journalists should abide by Chinese laws and regulations”. But I have not broken any laws. And I believe I have tried to cover China as honestly and equitably as one can. As I say goodbye to China, I think back to some of the issues and people we’ve covered.
On Thursday, Chen offered this alarming warning to American journalists:
As someone who has had my press credentials denied by authoritarian China, I never thought I’d see this crap happen in the US. And this “most reporters are okay but @Acosta is aggressive” thing is the EXACT line Chinese propaganda printed about me. It’s a tactic, people.
Right now, they’re singling out @Acosta. But tomorrow it’ll be Journalist X. And later Journalist Y and Z. It can happen very quickly. And of course, there’s always something wrong with the reporter. They’ll go back ten years to find something you misreported if they have to.
They’ll start casting suspicion about not just your work, but your very character. All they need is a whiff of anything unsavory. And it’ll be a talking point different people in the government will say, in public and private.
And you know what? This too will just be today’s news, a blip. Because we’re in the era of the exhausted majority. This too, I saw in China. Ordinary, decent people with busy lives who have no energy to be exhausted or outraged by politics.
And that, folks, is how a billion+ people in China live in an authoritarian state. Guess what? You don’t feel daily oppression in an authoritarian country. You have Starbucks and the usual normal people stuff. But —
While you don’t feel daily oppression in an authoritarian country, part of my job was to see what happened when the state DID cross paths with ordinary people. And when it does, law and justice are not there for you, and trust me, it’s BAD.
BY THE WAY WHITE HOUSE REPORTERS: Something foreign correspondents in places like Beijing and Moscow have learned: Hang together, or else you’ll hang separately. My peers supported me when I got expelled from China. That stuff matters.