China to announce curbs on US media outlets

News Desk

BEIJING: China on Wednesday announced it will curb American media outlets in the country after US last month said it would start treating another four major Chinese media outlets as foreign embassies,

Hu Xijin, the editor in chief of the Global Times, who announced on Twitter, gave no details of the measures. His paper is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.

The comment comes after US said in June it would start treating another four major Chinese media outlets as foreign embassies, following similar moves on other outlets earlier in the year, in a move likely to further sour fraught ties between the world’s top two economies.

The United States and China have been engaged in a series of retaliatory actions involving journalists in recent months, amid increasing tensions over the coronavirus pandemic and other issues.

In May, the US also limited visas for Chinese reporters to a 90-day period with the option for extension. Such visas were typically open-ended.

In March, China expelled American journalists from three US newspapers, after Washington slashed the number of journalists permitted to work in the United States at four major Chinese state-owned media outlets.

 Growing visa curbs by China

China on February 19 threw out three reporters from The Wall Street Journal — two US nationals and an Australian — in its harshest move against international media in years.

China said it took action because the newspaper had not apologised for a “racially discriminatory” headline that read “China is the Real Sick Man of Asia” and appeared on an opinion column about the nation´s fight against the coronavirus.

In its annual report, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China said that Beijing was using visas as a weapon to intimidate foreign press “like never before” and feared it was preparing to kick out more reporters.

It said that China had also been reducing the time-frame in which journalists can stay, with at least 12 correspondents issued credentials for half a year or less, more than double the number from a year earlier.

A senior US official said that President Donald Trump´s administration was also considering limiting the duration of stay for Chinese staff of state media.

Last year the United States issued 425 journalist visas to Chinese citizens, including family members, according to official data.