Beijing is protesting against the tightening of the US visa regime for Chinese journalists and is ready to take retaliatory measures if the US side does take this step, Chinese foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a briefing on Monday.
Earlier, a draft order issued by the Department of homeland security in the US Federal register reported that Washington plans to tighten the visa regime for journalists from China, limiting the period of their stay in the US to 90 days with the possibility of extension.
“We condemn and oppose these US actions, which are an increase in political pressure against the Chinese media,” the diplomat said.
According to him, the United States for some time, guided by the principles of the “cold war” and ideological prejudices, taking new and new measures to exert pressure on the Chinese media.
“The US constantly talks about the principle of reciprocity. However, most American journalists in China have received annual visas and residence permits, and according to the new rules, Chinese journalists will be able to get a visa for no more than 90 days. We call on the US to immediately correct their mistakes. Otherwise, we will be forced to take countermeasures,” the representative of the Ministry said.
Currently, the United States issues a particular type I visas to foreign journalists. As a rule, such a visa is valid for one year. It entitles a journalist to remain in the United States indefinitely after its expiration, as long as he continues to work in the same media that applied for a visa.
According to the draft, after the order comes into force, Chinese journalists will have to submit a request for visa extension every 90 days. However, if the US immigration authorities decide that the claim is not justified, the journalist will have to leave the US territory immediately. Exceptions are provided for passports of Hong Kong and Macao, which have the status of particular administrative regions of the PRC.
This year, contradictions between the US and China have escalated over how the media covers the coronavirus epidemic. The United States demanded that several Chinese state media reduce the number of journalists working on American territory, which led to the de facto expulsion of 60 Chinese media employees from the country. In turn, China demanded that US citizens who worked in China for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post hand over their journalistic credentials, which also forced American journalists to leave the host country. Also, the US and China have tightened their mutual requirements for journalists, requiring a report on the number of employees, finances, and other aspects of the activities of journalism bureaus on their territory.