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China will retaliate if Chinese journalists in US forced out: Global Times editor

China will retaliate if Chinese journalists in US forced out: Global Times editor

The flags of China and the United States are displayed before a news conference. (File photo: Reuters/Feng Li)

SHANGHAI: China will take retaliatory measures should all Chinese journalists based in the United States be forced to leave the country, including targeting US journalists in Hong Kong, Global Times Editor-in-Chief Hu Xijin said on Tuesday (Aug 4).

"Given that the US side hasn't renewed visa of Chinese journalists, Chinese side has prepared for the worst scenario that all Chinese journalists have to leave the US," Hu said in a statement on Twitter. 

READ: China, US trade tit-for-tat visa curbs over Tibet

READ: US will restrict visas for some Chinese officials over Tibet, Pompeo says

"If that's the case, Chinese side will retaliate, including targeting US journalists based in HK."

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters at a daily briefing that no Chinese journalist in the United States had been granted a visa extension since the United States, on May 11, limited their stay to 90 days, with an option to extend.

"The US has been escalating its actions against Chinese journalists," Wang told reporters. "The US should immediately correct its mistake and stop its actions."

"If the US persists, China will take a necessary and legitimate response to safeguard its rights," he said.

Wang did not say how many Chinese journalists were affected or what retaliation China might consider, but the editor of China's Global Times newspaper said earlier US journalists based in Hong Kong would be among those targeted should Chinese journalists be forced to leave the United States.

"Chinese side has prepared for the worst scenario that all Chinese journalists have to leave," Hu said on Twitter.

"If that's the case, Chinese side will retaliate, including targeting US journalists based in HK."

The Global Times newspaper is published by the People's Daily, the official newspaper of China's ruling Communist Party.

The two countries, whose relations have deteriorated sharply recently over various issues including trade and the novel coronavirus, have exchanged several tit-for-tat actions involving journalists in recent months.

On Tuesday, China said it will retaliate if Washington continues what it described as hostile actions against Chinese journalists based in the US.

On Jun 22, the United States changed the status of four more Chinese state media organisations, slashing the number of Chinese nationals allowed to work at the US offices of major Chinese state-owned media to 100 from 160, renewing a feud with Beijing.

The United States also denounced them as propaganda outlets.

China Central Television, the China News Service, the People's Daily and the Global Times were reclassified as foreign missions rather than media outlets in the United States, adding to five others designated in February.

The five organisations that were earlier designated - Xinhua news agency, the China Global Television Network, China Radio International and the US distributor of the People's Daily - were ordered to cut by nearly half the Chinese nationals working for them.

Beijing hit back by expelling US citizens working for three major newspapers - The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

On Feb 19, China threw out three reporters from The Wall Street Journal - two US nationals and an Australian - over what it deemed a racist headline on an opinion piece in its harshest move against international media in years.​​​​​​​

Source: Reuters/ic

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