In the latest developments of US-China tensions, Beijing has restricted the issuance of journalist cards, reducing the time to extend visas for foreign reporters working for US media.
According to CNN, in the past week, instead of being granted a new journalist card to operate in China, some foreign journalists only received a letter saying their application was being processed.
They are required to bring this letter with an expired journalist card, to prove that the reporter is working in China.
Because China visas are tied to journalists’ cards, the above reporters are only allowed to stay for a period of 2 months, compared to a year ago.
The Chinese authorities have also made it clear that these reporters’ provisional proofs and visas can be revoked at any time. Foreign reporters were worried because they did not know how long they could stay in China.
CNN’s China resident David Culver, an American, was affected when Beijing introduced the new restrictions. According to CNN, both American journalists and foreigners working for US media were affected, including the Wall Street Journal.
Reporters working for the US media do not know how long they will be able to operate in China.
Chinese officials told Culver that he did nothing wrong, but restrictions were put in response to how the US President Donald Trump administration restricted Chinese reporters from working in the US.
CNN also confirmed that Culver was only allowed to extend his visa for another 2 months. “Our reporters will still be working in China and we will work with the local authorities to ensure that reporters are entitled,” said a CNN spokesperson.
On September 6, the US State Department confirmed that US diplomats in China had received the Chinese government’s notice of the above restrictions.
In May, Washington shortened the working time in the US for most Chinese reporters to 90 days. Beijing said US officials did not notify these reporters of the visa extension application.
That means Chinese reporters will have to leave the US as early as November. This is also the time when Culver’s visa expires.
Commenting on this issue, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hoa Xuan Oanh on September 3 said: “If the US continues to choose the wrong path, China has no choice but to react properly and need necessary to firmly uphold legal rights ”.
Earlier this year, Beijing expelled a series of New York Times, Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal reporters after the administration of US President Donald Trump limited the number of Chinese reporters working in the US.