The Chinese government has not renewed press credentials for some journalists from American organizations, instead issuing letters for temporary status that can be revoked, a group of media workers tweeted Monday.
The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (FCCC) tweeted that it “is very alarmed that Chinese authorities have stopped renewing press credentials for journalists working at US news organizations.” The tweets continued to announce that at least five journalists working at four different American news organizations had been affected by further restrictions from China.
Affected journalists include individuals who work at The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg and CNN, according to the FCCC. These journalists were not allowed press credentials, and the letter given to them that allows them to work can be revoked at any time, the FCCC added.
“The Chinese government has explicitly said the move comes in response to a looming visa expiry deadline of November 6 for Chinese journalists based in the US, most of whom work for Chinese state media,” the FCCC tweeted. “These coercive practices have again turned accredited foreign journalists in China into pawns in a wider diplomatic conflict. The FCCC calls on the Chinese govt [sic] to halt this cycle of tit-for-tat reprisals in what is quickly becoming the darkest year yet for media freedoms.”
9/ This comes in addition to increasing harassment and surveillance of foreign journalists, including physical assault and cyber attacks, documented in distressing detail in the FCCC’s annual working conditions report.
— Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China (@fccchina) September 7, 2020
This is the latest move in escalating tensions between China and the U.S. regarding media. China said it would expel American journalists from the country in March. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) then declared in May that Chinese journalists would no longer be able to receive open visas – instead, they would be able to get 90-day visas – if they were working for a non-American media company.
After the DHS’s decision, five Chinese state media outlets were labeled as “foreign missions” by America, according to The Hill. (RELATED: China Vows Retaliation If US Refuses To Renew Chinese Journalists’ Visas)
“You should be honest to tell people since 2018 StateDept has delayed&denied visas of about 30 Chinese journalists&expelled 60 in Mar, limited visas for all Chinese journalists to a max 90-day stay in May&has not approved visa extension of any of them,” China Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hua Chunying tweeted.
“#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’ve made it very clear to your colleagues in Beijing,” she added. “We would be glad to continue our excellent cooperation with the #US journalists here if the Chinese journalists are treated fairly in the US.”
CNN confirmed in a statement that visa’s had changed for one of its Beijing-based journalists, but noted that the network’s “presence on the ground in China remains unchanged.”
“One of our Beijing-based journalists was recently issued a visa valid for two months, instead of the usual twelve,” the CNN spokesperson said according to an article on its website. “However, our presence on the ground in China remains unchanged and we are continuing to work with local authorities to ensure that continues.”