Thu, Oct 10, 2019 - Page 6 News List

China to restrict visas due to US curbs: sources

Reuters and AFP, SINGAPORE and WASHINGTON

China is planning tighter visa restrictions for US nationals with ties to anti-China groups, people with knowledge of the proposed curbs said, following similar US restrictions on Chinese nationals, as relations between the countries sour.

The Chinese Ministry of Public Security has for months been working on rules to limit the ability of anyone employed, or sponsored, by US intelligence services and human rights groups to travel to China.

“This is not something we want to do but we don’t seem to have any choice,” a source said.

The proposed changes follow the introduction by the US of tighter rules for visas for Chinese academics in May.

The US on Tuesday said it would curb visas for Chinese officials until Beijing ends its “repression” of Uighurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang, a day after imposing commercial restrictions.

The one-two punch by US President Donald Trump’s administration marks the most forceful attempt by a foreign power to address what some rights groups call a historic crisis in Xinjiang, and comes amid a range of feuds between the US and China.

“China has forcibly detained over 1 million Muslims in a brutal, systematic campaign to erase religion and culture in Xinjiang,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote on Twitter.

“China must end its draconian surveillance and repression, release all those arbitrarily detained and cease its coercion of Chinese Muslims abroad,” he said

If implemented, the Chinese rules would mandate the drafting of a list of US military and CIA-linked institutions and rights groups, and the addition of their employees to a visa blacklist, according to sources, who declined to be identified.

“The plan has been widely discussed by senior police officers over recent months, but made more likely to be implemented after the Hong Kong protests and the US visa ban on Chinese officials,” the source said.

The Chinese National Immigration Administration, which operates under the Ministry of Public Security, did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.

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