Chinese diplomats will need approval before visiting US campuses: Pompeo

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Chinese officials will need approval from the US State Department before visiting US university campuses and meeting with local government officials, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Wednesday, as tensions with Beijing rise.

“For years, the PRC [China] has imposed significant barriers on American diplomats working in the PRC that are far beyond diplomatic norms,” Pompeo said. It added that Chinese authorities implement a system of “opaque approval processes” designed to prevent American diplomats from conducting regular business and connecting with the Chinese people.

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And US diplomats face many obstacles when trying to host cultural events or secure official meetings in China, according to the State Department.

“The Department of State will now require senior PRC diplomats in the United States to receive approval to visit US university campuses and to meet with local government officials,” the statement said.

Cultural events with an audience larger than 50 people hosted by the Chinese embassy and consular posts outside of mission properties will also require State Department approval.

Additionally, the US will look to ensure that all official Chinese embassy and consular social media accounts are “properly identified as PRC government accounts.”

The new measures are in response to the “excessive restraints already placed on our diplomats by the PRC, and they aim to provide further transparency on the practices of the PRC government,” the State Department said.

In June, the US ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, Texas, which drew a reciprocal response from Beijing that forced the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu. Last month, the administration demanded that Chinese-funded language and culture programs in the US register as foreign missions of the Chinese Communist Party.

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- With AP

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