• By The Financial District


In the latest round of tit-for-tat between Beijing and Washington targeting each other's media outlets, Chinese authorities have imposed new visa restrictions on foreign journalists working for US news organizations in China amid growing bilateral tensions, Steven Jiang wrote for CNN Business late on September 7, 2020.

In the past week, during the routine renewal of their press credentials — which are normally valid for a year — several journalists were handed a letter that said their applications were being processed, instead of a new press card. They were advised to carry the letter along with their expired press cards as proof of journalistic identity. Since their Chinese visas are tied to their press cards, these journalists were issued a new visa valid for only about two months, much shorter than the usual one year. Chinese authorities have made clear that the temporary press credentials — and the visas linked to them — can be revoked anytime, leaving affected journalists in a limbo without knowing for sure how long they would be able to remain in China.

Reporters being targeted include both US and non-US citizens from several major US media outlets. CNN correspondent David Culver, who is American, is among those impacted by Beijing's latest move. The Wall Street Journal has reported its senior correspondent Jeremy Page, a British national, was also hit by the measure.

In a statement released Monday, the Foreign Correspondents' Club of China (FCCC) noted that at least five journalists at four US news organizations have been affected in recent days, naming Bloomberg in addition to CNN and the Journal. Culver was told by Chinese officials that the new restriction had nothing to do with his reporting but was a "reciprocal measure" in response to the Trump administration's treatment of Chinese journalists in the United States. A CNN spokesperson on Sunday confirmed Culver's new shortened visa.