China imposes reciprocal restrictions on US diplomats
Beijing says American diplomats will now have to notify Chinese authorities before any meetings with local officials and academics in China, explaining that the measures are taken in response to a similar restriction by Washington.
“The Chinese side does adopt countermeasures. China has always been supporting the diplomatic and consular staffs of all countries, including the US, in carrying out normal work-related activities in China, and providing necessary convenience for them,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a news conference in Beijing on Friday.
She said that the “reciprocal” measures were taken in response to the restrictive measures imposed by the US State Department on Chinese diplomatic and consular staff there in October.
Back then, the US ordered Chinese diplomats to notify the State Department before any meeting with local or state officials and with educational and research institutions, claiming that the move was a reaction to China’s strict limits on the actions of American diplomats there.
“China has informed the US embassy in China on December 4 that China would take reciprocal measures against the US as of that day. China will make responses in accordance with the practices of the US side,” Hua said.
She also called on the US to “rectify its mistakes and revoke relevant decisions so as to provide support and convenience for the Chinese diplomatic and consular staffs in the US in carrying out relevant activities.”
The latest developments come amid growing tensions between the two countries over a number of issues, including trade, protests in Hong Kong, and Uighurs in China’s Xinjiang region.
The US has started a trade war with China. It has been provocatively supporting rioters in Hong Kong, and has been interfering in China’s domestic affairs in Xinjiang.
China has already taken action against American interference in Hong Kong. Earlier this week, the editor-in-chief of a state-run Chinese newspaper also said China might ban all US diplomatic passport-holders from entering Xinjiang.