US President Donald Trump’s administration has ordered four Chinese state-owned news outlets to slash the number of staff they have working in the US, part of a broader response to Beijing’s restrictions on US journalists, including its expulsion of three Wall Street Journal reporters last month.
The move risks further tit-for-tat measures from Beijing, as the world’s biggest economies continue a broader battle for global influence.
From Friday next week, the four outlets will be allowed to employ a combined total of 100 Chinese citizens in the US, down about 40 percent from now, two US Department of State officials told reporters on Monday on condition of anonymity.
The officials said the reductions were not expulsions, although about 60 employees would almost certainly need to leave the country.
“Unlike foreign media organizations in China, these entities are not independent news organizations,” US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in a statement after the officials briefed reporters. “As we have done in other areas of the US-China relationship, we seek to establish a long-overdue level playing field.”
The outlets affected by the move are Xinhua news agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International and China Daily Distribution Corp. A fifth, Hai Tian Development USA, is also included under the cap, but will not have to cut staff because it has only two Chinese employees on its payroll in the US.
The restrictions stem from an effort by the Trump administration to restore what officials call reciprocity between the way China and the US treat each other’s journalists.
China currently allows about 100 US citizens in the country and has severely restricted the number of visas it issues to foreign reporters.
More restrictions are likely to come soon.
Another senior US administration official, also briefing reporters ahead of Pompeo’s statement, said that the US plans to limit how long Chinese citizens are allowed to stay in the country on journalist visas.
That would match a Chinese requirement restricting foreign reporters to as little as 30 days before they must seek an extension.
China yesterday condemned the move, saying Chinese journalists have a “universally recognized professional reputation.”
“Out of a Cold War mindset the US is conducting political oppression on Chinese media agencies in the US,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian (趙立堅) told reporters in Beijing. “We urge the US to correct its mistake at once and we reserve the right to take further actions.”
He said the move exposes the “hypocrisy of the United States’ so-called freedom of the press as blatant double standard and hegemonic bullying.”
Saying China reserves the right to react and take further action, Zhao added: “It was the US who broke the rules of the game first, China can only follow suit.”
Washington began mulling expulsions in earnest after China last month ordered the departure of the three Wall Street Journalreporters — two Americans and an Australian — after saying the outlet had refused to apologize for a “racially discriminatory” headline on an op-ed piece.
US officials have also said the reporters were expelled because of the Journal’s coverage of a Chinese government crackdown on Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
The Journal has defended its reporters and, like most US outlets, said it operates with a strict separation between its news and opinion staffs. The op-ed piece in question referred to China as “the real sick man of Asia.”
Additional reporting by AFP
A Taiwanese YouTuber suspected of creating and selling deepfake porn videos featuring more than 100 politicians and influencers was on Monday released on bail after being arrested the previous day. Chu Yu-chen (朱玉宸), 26, who uses the name Xiaoyu (小玉) on YouTube, was arrested on Sunday in New Taipei City, along with two suspected accomplices, a 24-year-old YouTuber surnamed Yeh (耶), known as Shaiw Shaiw (笑笑), and a 22-year-old man Chuang (莊). The three suspects were on Monday escorted to the New Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office for further questioning on suspicion of distributing obscene videos and publicly insulting others, in contravention of
ANTI-COERCION: EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said the EU wishes to bolster relations with Taiwan within the framework of its ‘one China’ policy The EU is to further its engagement with Taiwan to defend democracy, freedom and an open market, while bolstering cooperation in semiconductor supply chains, EU Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said on Tuesday. In her remarks at a European Parliament plenary session focused on Taiwan-EU relations, Vestager referred to China’s increasing military presence in the Taiwan Strait, including flying missions off the southwest coast of Taiwan. “This display of force may have a direct impact on European security and prosperity,” she said, adding that the EU encourages all parties to avoid any unilateral actions that might increase tensions across the Strait. “We Europeans
MILITARY RESOLVE: Washington does not want a cold war with Beijing, it just wants ‘China to understand that we’re not going to step back,’ Biden told a CNN town hall The US would come to Taiwan’s defense and has a commitment to defend the nation China claims as its own, US President Joe Biden said on Thursday, although the White House later said there was no change in policy toward Taiwan. “Yes, we have a commitment to do that,” Biden said at a CNN town hall meeting when asked if the US would come to the defense of Taiwan, which has been facing mounting military and political pressure from Beijing to accept Chinese sovereignty. While Washington is required by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself, it has long
DOWN, NOT OUT: The election was not a total defeat, as Chen still received 73,433 votes against the recall, and his party has ‘grown up’ through the process, he said Voters in Taichung yesterday recalled Taiwan Statebuilding Party Legislator Chen Po-wei (陳柏惟), making him the first legislator in the nation’s history to lose a recall election. A total of 77,899 votes were cast to recall Chen, while 73,433 voted against, the Taichung City Election Commission said, adding that 51.72 percent of the city’s second electoral district turned out. The Central Election Commission is to confirm the final figures within the next seven days, it said. Commission data showed that there are 294,976 eligible voters in the second district, comprised of Dadu (大肚), Shalu (沙鹿), Longjing (龍井), Wufong (霧峰) and Wurih (烏日) districts. Chen won