China complains about US visa restrictions

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China has accused the US of harassing Chinese scholars, students, entrepreneurs and scientists, in part through the delay, denial or revocation of visas.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the actions have been taken “for some time.”

“This has thwarted normal people-to-people exchange between China and the US and infringed upon the safety and lawful rights and interests of the Chinese personnel involved,” Geng said at a daily news briefing on Wednesday.

His complaint came as China demanded Washington lift restrictions on sales of US technology to a group of Chinese companies, calling it interference in the country’s affairs. American officials say those companies provide technology used to repress Muslim minorities in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang.

The sanctions announced Monday restrict sales of US technology to a group of Chinese companies working on facial recognition, artificial intelligence and other advanced products.

Those technologies are part of the ruling Communist Party’s industry development plans.

China, for its part, is believed to be tightening restrictions on foreigners linked to human rights groups and other organizations it considers subversive.

The ruling party has long distrusted such individuals, but ongoing violent anti-government demonstrations in Hong Kong are believed to have fed such suspicions. Beijing has accused foreign governments and organizations of encouraging the demonstrations in a bid to smear China’s reputation and constrain its development.

Human rights accusations “smear”

Beijing also said on Thursday that comments by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accusing China of human rights violations in its treatment of Muslims constituted a smear against Beijing.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang made the comments at a daily briefing Thursday. He did not mention Pompeo in particular.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a television interview on Wednesday that China’s treatment of Muslims, including the Uighurs, in western China was an “enormous human rights violation” and Washington will continue to raise the issue.

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