China warns of retaliation over new U.S. visa rule

Both sides have imposed restrictions

China on Monday threatened to retaliate against a U.S. rule that tightening visa restrictions on Chinese journalists, in an escalating row after Beijing expelled more than a dozen American reporters.

Citing China’s treatment of the reporters, the U.S. Homeland Security Department issued new regulations on Friday limiting visas for Chinese journalists to a maximum 90-day stay, with the possibility to request an extension. Until now, visas for Chinese journalists lasted for the duration of their employment in the U.S.

“We express our strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to this wrong action by the U.S. side, which is an escalation of the political crackdown on Chinese media,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. “We ask the U.S to correct its mistake immediately, otherwise China will have no other option but to take countermeasures,” Mr. Zhao said.

Diplomatic tensions

The tit-for-tat actions have added to searing diplomatic tensions.

Foreign journalists working in China receive one-year visas that must be renewed every year. But in an annual report, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China said at least a dozen correspondents were issued press credentials valid for half a year or less. The report said Chinese authorities were “using visas as weapons against the foreign press like never before.”

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