Hua Chunying, head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ press department, tweeted in the afternoon that: “#CNN journalist and a few other #US journalists’ visa extension applications are being processed, during which they can continue to live and work here with no problems at all.”
“We would be glad to continue our excellent cooperation with the #US journalists here if the Chinese journalists are treated fairly in the US,” she continued, adding that the US had delayed and denied visas of about 30 Chinese journalists and “expelled 60 in Mar, limited visas for all Chinese journalists to a max 90-day stay in May [and] has not approved visa extension of any of them.”
CNN reported on Sunday that in the past week several foreign journalists, including its own reporter in Beijing, applied for routine renewal of their press credentials. They were handed a letter saying their applications were being processed rather than getting a new press card. Their visas were extended for about two months, much shorter than the one-year extension usually granted. Foreign reporters’ credentials in China are tied with their visas.
as the spat with the US government unfolded. The New York Times reported that at least five journalists in four organisations – including The Wall Street Journal and Getty Images – had been affected in the latest episode.
The Chinese foreign ministry advised the affected journalists to carry the letter along with their expired press cards as proof of journalistic identity for now, CNN reported.
Both The Times and CNN said the US State Department had revealed on Sunday that American diplomats in Beijing were told by the Chinese foreign ministry about its impending measures of denying the visa renewals.
But at a later regular press briefing on Monday, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian denied Washington’s claim, reiterating that the renewal applications were “being processed” and the ministry had already informed the US officially.
Zhao said Washington, however, had been withholding Chinese journalists’ visa renewals.
“The visas of [Chinese correspondents in the US] had expired on August 6 and they had already applied for renewal long ago in accordance with the US authority’s requirement. But so far not a single renewal was approved and their work and lives were hit with huge uncertainty,” Zhao said, adding that Beijing had exercised restraint its reciprocal measures, such as visa validity periods.
“If the US insists on its improper measures, China will have no option but to respond appropriately to defend its legitimate rights,” he said, without further elaboration.
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