BEIJING, May 11 (Xinhua) -- China on Monday expressed strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to the U.S. decision to restrict visas for Chinese journalists to 90 days.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian made the remarks at a press briefing when asked to comment on the U.S. move. He demanded the United States to correct its wrongdoing immediately, saying that otherwise, China will have to take countermeasures.
Zhao said that for a while, the U.S. has been so entrenched in the Cold War mentality and ideological bias that it has launched one round of suppression after another against Chinese media.
In December 2018, the United States demanded a Chinese media organization's U.S. office to register as "foreign agent," said Zhao, adding that since 2018, the United States has denied visa applications for more than 20 U.S.-based Chinese journalists without cause.
In February 2020, the United States designated five Chinese media organizations in the U.S. as "foreign missions" and then placed a cap on the number of their staff, in effect expelling 60 Chinese journalists.
"Now it is resorting to the discriminatory restrictive visa measures, severely disrupting Chinese media' normal reporting activities in the U.S. and affecting bilateral people-to-people cultural exchange," Zhao said.
The U.S. keeps talking about reciprocity, but most U.S. journalists in China are issued press cards and residence permits with one-year validity. In contrast, under the new rule issued by the U.S., Chinese journalists can only get visas allowing a stay of not more than 90 days.
"Is there any reciprocity in this?" he asked.
"The United States prides itself on press freedom and media transparency, but why is it so afraid of Chinese media's reports?" Zhao asked.
The very nature of the "reciprocity" the U.S. is claiming is prejudice, discrimination and intolerance toward Chinese media, and its excuse to escalate political suppression against Chinese media, he added.