Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters at a daily briefing in Beijing on Tuesday that the Chinese government would retaliate if the US persisted with “hostile action” against the Chinese journalists, who may be forced to leave in the coming days if their visas are not extended.
Wang stressed that no Chinese journalist in the US had been granted a visa extension since May 11, when the country limited the journalists’ stay to 90 days, with an option to extend the period.
“The US has been escalating its actions against Chinese journalists. The US should immediately correct its mistake and stop its actions,” the Chinese official said.
“If the US persists, China will take a necessary and legitimate response to safeguard its rights,” he added, without providing details on the number of Chinese journalists affected by Washington’s actions.
China’s official Global Times newspaper had earlier said American journalists based in the semi-autonomous Chinese city of Hong Kong would be among those targeted should the Chinese journalists’ visas not be renewed.
“Chinese side has prepared for the worst scenario that all Chinese journalists have to leave,” Hu Xijin, a Global Times’ editor, said on Twitter. “If that’s the case, Chinese side will retaliate, including targeting US journalists based in HK.”