• By The Financial District


China accused critics in the US government of “an escalation of political suppression” against Beijing following a report of new visa restrictions on members of China’s ruling Communist Party and their immediate family members, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China would “make representations” to the US following the report Thursday in the New York Times that such people would be limited to one-month, single-entry visas. Hua called Washington’s approach “totally inconsistent with the US’s own interests,” and said it would damage America’s global image. “I think it is obvious to all that this is an escalation of political suppression by some extreme anti-China forces in the US out of strong ideological prejudice and deep-rooted Cold War mentality against China,” Hua said at a daily briefing.

The Times report could not immediately be confirmed, but follows earlier hints that Washington was planning such a move, possibly even including a total ban on all 92 million Communist Party members. It wasn’t clear how the restrictions would be enforced since many members do not play active public roles in the party’s institutions. Jack Ma is a party member.

The restrictions would be the latest punitive measure taken against China’s leadership and economy amid sharpening disputes over human rights, the coronavirus pandemic, trade, technology, Taiwan and a host of other issues. The US has also said it would block imports from a major Chinese producer of cotton goods because of its reliance on workers detained as part of a crackdown on ethnic minorities in China’s northwest.