Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced new restrictions on Chinese diplomats to the U.S. on Wednesday, saying they will now face similar restrictions U.S. diplomats face in China.
The Department of State (DOS) policy change will require Chinese diplomats to get DOS approval before visiting university campuses and hosting events of more than 50 people at its embassy in D.C. or consular posts elsewhere in the country, Pompeo said in a statement. The Trump administration made it clear, however, that it is willing to undo the restrictions if the Chinese government grants similar freedoms to U.S. diplomats.
“U.S. diplomats’ attempts to host cultural events, secure official meetings, and visit university campuses are regularly obstructed [in China],” Pompeo said. “In the United States, by contrast, PRC diplomats have enjoyed open access to American society, while ignoring sustained U.S. entreaties to improve the balance. In response to the PRC’s longstanding restrictions on U.S. diplomats and refusal to engage in good faith on fundamental matters of reciprocity and mutual respect, the Department of State is compelled to impose certain new requirements on PRC diplomats.”
The policy change also requires Chinese diplomats to label themselves as agents for the People’s Republic of China on their social media accounts. China has long restricted U.S. diplomats’ access to Chinese social media, as well as outright banning Facebook and Twitter among its citizens. (RELATED: FLASHBACK Jan. 14: WHO Tells Everyone Don’t Worry Because China Says Coronavirus Isn’t Contagious)
“These new requirements on PRC diplomats are a direct 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,” Pompeo said. “Should the PRC eliminate the restrictions imposed on U.S. diplomats, we stand ready to reciprocate.”
President Donald Trump’s administration has been increasingly critical toward China and its controlling communist party since its mishandling of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.