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Iran Press TV

White House places more restrictions on Chinese journalists as crackdown intensifies

Iran Press TV

Tuesday, 03 March 2020 8:13 AM

The United States is slashing by nearly half the number of US-based journalists working for Chinese state-owned media outlets, intensifying its crackdown on the Chinese press.

The US State Department said it would cap the number of Chinese employees permitted at the US offices of Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International and China Daily Distribution Corp at 100, down from 160 as of March 13.

"For years, the government of the People's Republic of China has imposed increasingly harsh surveillance, harassment, and intimidation against American and other foreign journalists operating in China," US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed in a statement.

The United States would also be announcing in near future limits on duration of stay for Chinese citizens, President Donald Trump's administration officials said.

China's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that Beijing reserves the right to take measures in response to Washington's decision to reduce the number of Chinese nationals permitted to work at US offices of key official Chinese media outlets.

Foreign ministry official Zhao Lijian said that Washington's latest actions have caused serious negative impact on bilateral relations.

The US move came two weeks after China revoked the visas of three Wall Street journal reporters in Beijing after the newspaper declined to apologize for a column with a headline calling China the "Real Sick Man of Asia", which referred to the coronavirus outbreak.

Beijing called the headline, which appeared on an opinion column about China's fight against the coronavirus, "racially-laced and discriminatory."

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists also voiced dismay at the US media crackdown, saying the Washington was furthering a "dangerous cycle of tit-for-tat retaliation" that could impede the flow of information in the midst of the coronavirus crisis, Reuters said.

China's ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun condemned the US move, saying "we do not think it's appropriate for the United States to take steps to interfere with the work of journalists coming from China."

China's Foreign Ministry warned last week that Beijing would "certainly respond further" if the US "takes further harassment and restriction measures" after rumors circulated that Washington was planning to expel all Chinese journalists.

The Trump administration said it may expel Chinese journalists in retaliation for the expulsion of three Wall Street Journal reporters based in China.

Tensions between US and China have escalated since Trump assumed office three years ago, with disputes over issues ranging from trade to US support for Taiwan.

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