China says it will retaliate if US actions against Chinese journalists continue

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin arriving at regular foreign ministry news conference in Beijing, China, July 22, 2020. (AFP)

China said on Tuesday it will retaliate if Washington continues what it described as hostile actions against Chinese journalists based in the United States.

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Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said the ministry understands that no Chinese journalist in the United States have had their application for a visa renewal approved since Washington in May moved to limit their visas to 90 days with an option for an extension.

“The US has been escalating its actions against Chinese journalists,” Wang told reporters. “The US should immediately correct its mistake and stop its actions.”

“If the US persists, China will take a necessary and legitimate response to safeguard its rights,” he said.

Wang did not say how many Chinese journalists were affected or what retaliation China might consider, but the editor of China’s Global Times newspaper said earlier US journalists based in Hong Kong would be among those targeted should Chinese journalists be forced to leave the United States.

“Chinese side has prepared for the worst scenario that all Chinese journalists have to leave,” Hu said on Twitter.

“If that’s the case, Chinese side will retaliate, including targeting US journalists based in HK.”

The Global Times is published by the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of China’s ruling Communist Party.

The two countries, whose relations have deteriorated sharply recently over various issues including trade and the novel coronavirus, have exchanged several tit-for-tat actions involving journalists in recent months.

The United States in March slashed the number of Chinese nationals allowed to work at the US offices of major Chinese state-owned media to 100 from 160.

China expelled US journalists working for three US newspapers – New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post – this year and has threatened to match any more
US action against Chinese journalists.

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Last Update: Tuesday, 04 August 2020 KSA 12:05 - GMT 09:05
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