China vows response if US refuses visa renewal for its state media personnel

US government announced in March it will curtail number of Chinese state media operatives allowed to work in country

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin (Chinese MOFA photo)

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin (Chinese MOFA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said during a routine press conference on Tuesday (Aug. 4) that if the U.S. continues refusing to renew work visas for Chinese state media personnel then China will be forced to make an “appropriate response,” according to UDN.

The U.S. government announced in March that it will lower the cap on allowed employees at five Chinese state media outlets operating in the country from a total of 160 to 100. This means that 60 state news workers will lose their visas if they are unable to find new employment by Aug. 6, UDN reported.

The five Chinese state media outlets that would be impacted include Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily, and the People's Daily.

Hu Xijin (胡錫進), editor-in-chief of the state-run Global Times, observed on Twitter Tuesday that Aug. 6 was just a few days away and said the U.S. is very unlikely to change its stance. He added that even though Chinese state media personnel in the U.S. have submitted visa renewal applications, approval has so far been elusive.

As for whether American journalists in Hong Kong will be affected, Wang said that Hong Kong Special Administrative Region is part of China and that how China will respond to the ejection of its state media agents falls within the scope of the central government’s foreign affairs prerogative.

Hu said that as the U.S. has so far declined to renew the soon-to-sunset visas, China has been preparing for all contingencies, including the withdrawal of all Chinese state media from the U.S., which would be followed by "fierce retaliation," such as expelling all American journalists from Hong Kong.

“Is the U.S. trying to expel all Chinese reporters in that country? Or trying to force China to pull out all its reporters? What I want to say is that it will not scare the Chinese,” Hu said. “I actually want Washington to think about it. Many American journalists have been living in China for many years, and there are a few hundred in Hong Kong. If the media war between China and the U.S. escalates, who will be hurt most is very obvious.”