China Hits Out on US Visa Restrictions 12/03 06:13
China on Thursday accused critics in the U.S. 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
BEIJING (AP) -- China on Thursday accused critics in the U.S. 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.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China would "make
representations" to the U.S. 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 U.S.'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 U.S. 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.
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.
On Wednesday, the U.S. 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.
Washington has already slapped travel bans and financial sanctions on
officials connected to the crackdown on Uighurs and other Chinese Muslim groups
in Xinjiang, as well as on Chinese and Hong Kong officials it accuses of
restricting social and political rights in the semi-autonomous Chinese city
through the implementation of a harsh new national security law.
Diplomatic ties hit a low point over the summer when the U.S. ordered the
closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston and China responded by demanding
the U.S. vacate its consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu.
Washington had been loosening restrictions on travel by Chinese to the U.S.,
seeking to take advantage of the lavish spending habits of China's newly
wealthy. Beginning in 2014, Chinese travelers --- whether party members or not
--- became eligible for multiple-entry visas valid for 10 years, with stays of
180 days allowed for each entry, while students were permitted visas good for
five years. China reciprocated with similar treatment for U.S. citizens.
Chinese who make up the single largest group of foreign students at American
universities have already complained of tougher conditions for obtaining or
extending visas. Chinese academics have also faced greater scrutiny, while
dozens of journalists with state media have been forced to return home and visa
restrictions placed on those remaining, prompting retaliation from Beijing.
Analysts have long speculated that President Donald Trump will impose
harsher measures on China before leaving office on Jan. 20, placing
President-elect Joe Biden in a bind in managing the increasingly fractious