A man reads a newspaper in Hong Kong, March 2017
Dagmar Schwelle / laif/ Redux

China’s expulsion of more than a dozen American journalists is being heralded as another step toward a new Cold War. Chinese officials are crowing about sovereignty; the expulsions, by their telling, are merely a proportionate response to moves by the Trump administration to limit to 100 the number of Chinese citizens who can work in the United States for five state-run Chinese news organizations. But the comparison doesn’t hold up: Beijing is effectively clearing out the three best independent news organizations in China, while its media companies in the United States are widely understood to be outlets for propaganda

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