China warns of countermeasures to new US rules against Chinese journalists

BEIJING: China warned on Monday (May 11) that it will take countermeasures in response to a US decision to tighten visa guidelines against Chinese journalists and urged the United States to immediately “correct its mistake”.

The United States last week issued a new rule limiting visas for Chinese reporters to a 90-day period, with the option for extension, that takes effect on Monday. Such visas are typically open-ended and do not need to be extended, unless the employee moves to a different company or medium.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters during a daily briefing in Beijing that China deplored and rejected the US decision, which Zhao called an escalation of suppression against Chinese media.

READ: US tightens visa rules for Chinese journalists amid coronavirus tensions

“We are resolutely opposed and strongly dissatisfied with this,” Zhao said. 

“We require the US to immediately correct its mistake, or China will have no choice but to take countermeasures.”

The United States and China have been engaged in a series of retaliatory actions involving journalists in recent months.

In March, China expelled American journalists from three US newspapers, a month after the United States said it would begin to treat five Chinese state-run media entities with US operations as foreign embassies.

READ: China says WSJ reporter in Wuhan can remain in country until end of epidemic

Earlier, China expelled three Wall Street Journal reporters – two Americans and an Australian – after the paper published an opinion column calling China the “real sick man of Asia”.

In issuing the new regulation on Friday, the Department of Homeland Security cited what it called China’s “suppression of independent journalism”.

“For a period of time, the US has stuck to a Cold War mentality and ideological bias, and it has continuously escalated its suppression of Chinese media,” Zhao said.

“Now they’re using visas to take discriminatory limitations, severely disrupting the Chinese media’s ability to report normally in the US, severely disrupting people-to-people relations between our two countries.

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