China says it will retaliate against the United States about its recent decision to limit the number of Chinese citizens it will allow into the United States.
American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the policy Monday. It restricts U.S. entrance by employees of five Chinese state-owned news organizations. They are Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily Distribution Corporation and Hai Tian Development USA, Inc. The policy reduces the number of Chinese nationals from these organizations to 100, a decrease of 60.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters in Beijing that the government strongly objects to the Trump administration decision. Zhao said the move effectively expels the reporters. He warned that China has “the right" to take additional measures.
Hua Chunying is a spokeswoman for the Foreign Ministry. She released a warning on social media, saying, "Now the U.S. kicked off the game, let's play."
Chinese citizens working for other news organizations in the United States are not affected by the limit.
The U.S. called the five organizations “propaganda organs of the Chinese Communist Party.” It also said the State department had already decided the organizations were foreign missions of the Chinese Government.
Secretary Pompeo said in a statement, “As we have done in other areas of the U.S.-China relationship, we seek a… level playing field."
He said the U.S. wants the Chinese government to be fair in its treatment of U.S. and other foreign press in China.
A top State Department official explained even with the limit, the number of Chinese citizens working at these organizations is still greater than the total number of American reporters working in China.
The U.S. has issued 3,000 press visas to Chinese citizens working in the United States since 2015, said a top Trump administration official. He added that the U.S. has only 75 American or non-Chinese citizens working for news organizations in China.
These special visas do not have a time limit. Similar permission given by China to U.S. reporters do include limits on visits, some as short as 30 days.
On Monday, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China published its yearly freedom report. Called Control, Halt, Delete: Reporting in China Under Threat of Expulsion, the report is an examination of foreign press freedom in China in 2019.
The report says Chinese officials use visas as a weapon against foreign reporters. In 2019, it limited visas for 12 reporters and expelled four others.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson rejected the report. China does not recognize the organization.
The five Chinese state news organizations named in the U.S. policy change will have to make the names of their employees public. They also must inform the U.S. State Department of employment and dismissal decisions. And, they must register any property owned by the organization.
I’m Susan Shand.
VOA’s Nike Ching reported this story. Susan Shand adapted it for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
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Words in This Story
retaliate – v. to do something bad to someone who has hurt you or treated you badly
mission – n. a group of people sent to a foreign country for a specific reason