China Vows Retaliation Against Journalists Unless U.S. Relents
Chinese flags outside China's foreign ministry office in Hong Kong. (Photographer: Paul Yeung/Bloomberg)

China Vows Retaliation Against Journalists Unless U.S. Relents

China threatened further retaliation against U.S. journalists, in a sign of growing frustration with the Biden administration over a high-profile diplomatic dispute.

“If the U.S. continues to deliberately make things hard for our journalists, then we will have no choice but to take countermeasures, although we haven’t done so thus far,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing Friday in Beijing. “What will happen next will be completely up to the U.S.”

China said after a March meeting of the nations’ top diplomats in Alaska that the two sides had agreed to hold talks on the dispute over reporters. There’s been no improvement in the situation since then, and earlier this week Hua announced a journalist from the official Xinhua News Agency was recently forced to leave the U.S. because a visa wasn’t extended.

Beijing has said the U.S. has expelled more than 60 Chinese media personnel, denied visas to more than 20 others and shortened the validity of visas for the remaining journalists. On Friday, Hua compared those actions to the situation of U.S. journalists in China, who she said hadn’t been inconvenienced.

The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China has said that the Chinese government forced a record 17 journalists to leave in the first half of 2020. Since September, China has delayed renewing the press credentials of reporters and editors working for U.S. media and issued only rolling three-month residence permits. The ministry also provides a letter allowing them to work in the country in lieu of having official press credentials, which in the past were valid for 12 months.

“If the U.S. corrects its mistakes, we will provide you with better convenience and service, but this is the best we can do to show you our goodwill, which you should cherish,” Hua said, referring to journalists in China.

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