Beijing Says It Will Retaliate if U.S. Denies Visas to Chinese Journalists
What’s new: Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Tuesday that Beijing will retaliate if Washington declines to renew U.S.-based Chinese journalists’ visas. The length of these visas had already been shortened to 90 days following a previous diplomatic spat involving journalists in May.
Wang said the ministry has learned that Chinese journalists in the United States have already submitted their applications for visa renewals but none have so far received “a clear response from the U.S. side.” He added that “for a long time, the U.S. has been stepping up its political suppression of the Chinese media out of its Cold War mentality and ideological bias … If it is bent on going down the wrong path, China will have to take legitimate necessary reactions and resolutely safeguard its own legitimate rights and interests.”
Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the state-owned Global Times, said in a tweet earlier on Tuesday that the “Chinese side has prepared for the worst scenario that all Chinese journalists have to leave the US. If that’s the case, Chinese side will retaliate, including targeting US journalists based in HK.”
The background: Journalists have been caught in the crossfire between the U.S. and China this year amid ongoing tensions on multiple fronts, including trade, technology and the Covid-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a rule on May 8 to limit the validity of Chinese journalists’ visas to 90 days, with an exemption for those from Hong Kong and Macau. In March, Beijing expelled several American journalists from three major U.S. newspapers after Washington capped the number of U.S.-based staff of five Chinese state-owned media outlets earlier.
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