The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday that the government would expel and revoke the press credentials of three Beijing-based reporters from the Wall Street Journal due to an opinion piece published in the paper it deemed as being racist, CNN reported.This is China's largest expulsion of foreign correspondents since 1989, and the first one since 1998. According to ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang, the piece, entitled "China is the real sick man of Asia," used "a racially discriminatory title, triggering indignation and condemnation among the Chinese people and the international community."Regrettably, what the WSJ has done so far is nothing but parrying and dodging its responsibility," the spokesperson said. "It has neither issued an official apology nor informed us of what it plans to do with the persons involved... As such, it is decided that from today, the press cards of three WSJ journalists will be revoked."The piece, authored by American academic Walter Russel Mead, slammed Beijing's initial responses to the deadly coronavirus outbreak that began in Wuhan, as well as theorizing possible effects the outbreak could have on Chinese politics and economy.The state-run news outlet Global Times slammed the opinion piece's headline as "racist," and published an opinion piece titled "Why doesn't The Wall Street Journal have the courage to apologize?""A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson has also demanded a public apology from the paper," the opinion piece said. "But The Wall Street Journal still has not apologized, nor has it taken any actions to correct the mistake. It continues to adhere to its arrogance and prejudice."US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed the move in a statement, Reuters reported."Mature, responsible countries understand that a free press reports facts and expresses opinions," he said. "The correct response is to present counter arguments, not restrict speech."Visa restriction is a method the Chinese government uses to pressure foreign media in the country, and many journalists have been given short-term visas rather than standard ones. However, expelling journalists is an "unprecedented form of retaliation against foreign journalists in China," according to a statement published Wednesday by the Foreign Correspondent's Club of China (FCCC)."FCCC member correspondents and their colleagues in China are suffering from an increasing frequency of harassment, surveillance and intimidation from authorities. The expulsion of these three WSJ reporters is only the latest, and most alarming measure authorities have taken."According to the WSJ, the reporters – Josh Chin, Chao Deng and Philip Wen – were given a period of five days to leave China.This expulsion comes a day after the US designated major state-run media companies Xinhua, China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily and People's Daily as "foreign missions" and extensions of the Chinese government, CNN reported.The move, which meant that the companies will have to register personnel changes with the State Department and need US government approval to get office space, was slammed as "unreasonable and unacceptable" by the Chinese Foreign Ministry, which added that China reserves the right to "respond further on this matter."