China promises ‘retaliation’ if its journalists are expelled from the United States

China promises to fight back against the USA

China on Tuesday promised a “response” in the event of a further expulsion by the United States of Chinese journalists, amid an escalation between the two powers in the field of the media. In the name of the fight against the intimidation suffered by the reporters foreigners on Chinese territory, Washington has engaged in an all-out battle against the media organs of the Asian giant.

Among those measures, the United States has only issued visas for 90 days to Chinese journalists since May 8, meaning that some will expire soon. Their holders can benefit from an extension but this is not automatic.

“So far, no journalist (concerned) has obtained a clear answer from the American authorities” to his request for an extension, lamented Tuesday during a press point Wang Wenbin, spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Necessary and legitimate response”

“If the United States persists in pursuing this path and making even more mistakes, China will inevitably be forced into a necessary and legitimate response,” he warned. A dozen Chinese media outlets, including public television CCTV and the China New Agency, have been classified in recent months by the United States as “foreign diplomatic missions”.

The first American measures marked the beginning of an escalation between the two powers over the media. At the end of February, three journalists from the Wall Street Journal were expelled from China in retaliation for a column published in the American daily and considered racist.

In the process, Washington had sharply reduced the number of Chinese allowed to work for their country’s state media in the United States. Several dozen of them had been forced to pack up. Chinese authorities retaliated by expelling other American correspondents, working for the Wall Street Journal and two other dailies, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Asked whether American journalists based in the semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong (south) could now be expelled, Wang Wenbin was evasive. The region “is part of China” and possible retaliatory measures fall under the “diplomatic duties and responsibilities” of the central government, he said.

Hong Kong has for decades been a haven for media that can count on the freedom of the local press. But the imposition since June 30 in the territory of a law on national security could increase visa refusals for foreigners deemed undesirable.

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