Beijing tries to use 'visa blackmail' to dissuade US congressmen from Taiwan visit

China denies entry to US congressional delegation to try to prevent planned Taiwan visit

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney.

Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney. (Wikimedia Commons photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China has denied entry visas to a U.S. congressional delegation in retaliation for their scheduled trip to Taiwan, according to an op-ed by Representative Sean Patrick Maloney (D-NY).

In the op-ed published on Sunday (Oct. 13), Maloney wrote that the reason for the denial of visas to the communist country was clearly punishment for a scheduled trip to Taiwan: "We were barred from the country for one reason only — our planned visit to Taiwan." Maloney described Beijing's new tactic as "visa blackmail, designed to stanch the longstanding tradition of robust U.S. congressional engagement with Taiwan."

Maloney chastised Beijing by writing that such "ham-handed and obtusely enforced pressure campaigns" will only serve to "invigorate congressional support for Taiwan.” Maloney added that in the coming months, he will be looking into ways for Congress to “reinforce U.S. support for Taiwan.”

U.S. congressional support for Taiwan has been strengthening over the past couple of years with the passing of the Taiwan Travel Act in 2018 and the proposed TAIPEI Act, which is making its way through Congress this year. On Thursday, US Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) became the first sitting U.S. senator to attend Taiwan's National Day ceremony in 35 years.