The Chinese Communist Party is delaying the renewal of press credentials for some journalists working at American media outlets, amid a conflict over the renewal of Chinese reporters’ visas in the US.
Wall Street Journal reporter Jeremy Page, who is British, as well as American CNN reporter David Culver, and two non-American Bloomberg journalists, received letters allowing them to continue working in China with their expired press credentials for about two months, each of the outlets reported.
Visas issued to journalists in China typically last for one year.
In total, at least five reporters at four US news organizations were affected — and China’s foreign ministry indicated that the letters issued to journalists could be revoked at any time, according to The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China.
“These coercive practices have again turned accredited foreign journalists in China into pawns in a wider diplomatic conflict,” the club said in a statement posted to Twitter. “The FCCC calls on the Chinese govt to halt this cycle of tit-for-tat reprisals in what is quickly becoming the darkest year yet for media freedoms.”
The US State Department said that China’s Foreign Ministry had recently informed the US embassy it intended to deny press card renewals and refuse to process pending visa applications for reporters expelled earlier this year.
“The United States is of course troubled that these proposed actions … will worsen the reporting environment in China, which is already suffering a dearth of open and independent media reporting,” spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement.
A CNN spokeswoman told Reuters that one of its Beijing-based journalists was recently issued a visa valid for two months.
“Our presence on the ground in China remains unchanged, and we are continuing to work with local authorities to ensure that continues,” she said.
A Bloomberg spokesperson declined to comment and a representative for Wall Street Journal parent Dow Jones did not respond to a request for comment, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, Chinese journalists in the US are waiting for their lapsed work visas to be renewed. They are permitted to remain in the US during a 90-day grace period expiring in early November, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
A Bloomberg spokeswoman declined to comment. A representative for Wall Street Journal parent Dow Jones did not respond to a request for comment.
In a statement posted to Twitter, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, “#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.”
“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.
With Post wires
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