As the post-modern world is strained by economic difficulties and fears of repercussions of dealing negligently with a novel coronavirus, ties between the two superpowers of today are deteriorating. The future of diplomatic relations between US and China seems to be bleak at best. China’s Foreign Ministry has ordered several US news organizations to submit information about their operations inside the country within seven days, in what it says is a self-defense tactic against Washington’s unfair restrictions on its media.
China retaliates to US restrictions
The Associated Press (AP), CBS News, National Public Radio (NPR) and United Press International (UPI) media outlets are to give detailed information about their staff, operations, and property in China. The announcement comes in response to restrictions from US on Chinese media outlets, and the measure is taken purely in self-defense, a ministry spokesperson said, according to the Global Times.
“It should be pointed out that the above-mentioned measures by China are completely necessary countermeasures and are completely legitimate defenses compelled by unreasonable suppression of the U.S. side on Chinese media agencies in the United States,” Zhao said at a daily briefing.
“We urge the US to immediately change course, correct its error, and desist in the political suppression and unreasonable restriction of Chinese media,” said spokesman Zhao Lijian.
Zhao said recent U.S. policies damage the reputation and image of Chinese media, impact their operations and “seriously interfere with the normal people-to-people exchanges between China and the U.S.”
What are the US restrictions on Chinese media outlets?
The United States and China have been locked in a series of retaliatory actions involving journalists in recent months.
The US State Department announced restrictions on five Chinese media outlets in February, alleging they were being used to spread propaganda. Last month, the United States said it would start treating another four major Chinese state media outlets as foreign embassies, following similar measures taken by Washington earlier in the year. The targeted outlets include Global Times, People’s Daily, and China Central Television.
The Chinese outlets targeted by Washington are also required to report details about their employees and real estate transactions in the US. The State Department had put a limit on the number of Chinese nationals the organizations could employ in March, meaning some had to fire staff members. The restrictions on employee numbers came after China said it would revoke the credentials of journalists from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post in March. China ordered more than a dozen reporters from The Washington Post, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal to hand in their press credentials, forcing them to leave the country because their visas were tied to their work status.
US-China’s back and forth over media restrictions
Tensions between the two nations have become further inflamed amidst the coronavirus pandemic, which the US has blamed on China, and anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong, which are backed by the West.
The US said it was limiting the number of Chinese nationals allowed to work in March because of China’s “long-standing intimidation and harassment of journalists.” Chinese media has since accused the US of hypocrisy over its support for Hong Kong protests in light of its own violent response to Black Lives Matter protests sparked after the death of George Floyd at the hands of the police.
China followed Washington’s move to slash the number of journalists permitted to work in the United States for four major Chinese state-owned media outlets.
Alarming implication of how China's new 'national security' law in Hong Kong is written:
If you're a US or EU and fire off a tweet critical of Xi Jinping, then take a connecting flight through HK, you could potentially be detained and extradited to China https://t.co/izm580tncd
— Robbie Gramer (@RobbieGramer) July 1, 2020
“NPR is in communication with the relevant authorities and we are studying the request,” said an NPR spokesperson.
The AP said in a statement that it was “seeking more information about the requirements announced today and will review them carefully”. CBS and UPI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In May, Washington limited visas for Chinese reporters to a 90-day period, with the option for extension. Previously, such visas were typically open-ended.
RT with additional input by GVS News Desk
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