U.S. Calls China’s Warnings Over Journalist Visas ‘Unacceptable’
(Bloomberg) -- The U.S. dismissed as “unacceptable” Beijing’s warnings of further retaliation if the visas of Chinese journalists working in America weren’t renewed.
The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said in a statement Tuesday that complaints about the Trump administration’s decision to give some Chinese media staff new travel documents that will expire in a matter of days were unfounded. The embassy was responding to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin’s warnings Monday of “firm countermeasures” if Washington didn’t change its approach.
“These threats are unacceptable, inappropriate, and misleading,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy said. “They attempt to equate lawful and transparent U.S. action with politicized PRC bullying,” the embassy added, referring to the People’s Republic of China.
Some Chinese journalists in the U.S. were notified last week that their long-delayed visa applications had been approved, Wang said Monday. However, those travel documents covered a period from Aug. 4 to Nov. 4, meaning some would immediately have to file for extensions. The journalists were asked to not engage in news-gathering activities while awaiting approval, Wang said.
Both countries have increasingly targeted each other’s journalists amid disputes over everything from trade to the coronavirus pandemic. As of September, the U.S. had expelled more than 60 Chinese media personnel and denied visas to more than 20 others. The Chinese government forced a record 17 foreign correspondents to leave the country in the first half of this year.
Chinese authorities have already delayed renewing the press credentials of some journalists working for American media outlets, including Bloomberg News, CNN and the Wall Street Journal, in response to the Trump administration limiting visa terms for Chinese reporters in the U.S.
U.S. diplomats have asked Beijing to allow expelled American journalists back into China, give U.S. media outlets the ability to resume normal operations, and stop the intimidation and harassment of foreign journalists.
“The United States adjudicated these applications in good faith, while the PRC government has completely ignored our longstanding, reasonable requests for U.S. journalists working in the PRC,” U.S. embassy said.
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