Aug 04, 2020 15:56 UTC
  •  China to retaliate potential US expulsion of journalists

China says it will retaliate the United States’ potential expulsion of Chinese journalists, following a move by Washington to decline to renew their visas.

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.”

In another development on Tuesday, China accused the US of “outright bullying” after Washington warned to shut down the popular video sharing application TikTok if the Chinese social networking platform declined to sell its US operations to an American company.

Accusing the app of posing a national security risk, Trump gave TikTok six weeks to arrange a sale of its US operations and said his administration wanted a financial benefit from the deal.

“This goes against the principles of the market economy and the World Trade Organization’s principles of openness, transparency and non-discrimination,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said. “It’s outright bullying.”

Wang also rejected the national security risk accusation leveled by the US president against Chinese companies, saying they were based on “trumped-up charges.”

“The US, without providing any evidence, has been using an abused concept of national security… unjustifiably suppressing certain non-US companies,” he said.

The Chinese official also said the national security grounds for the US’s clampdown on Chinese firms “does not hold water” and that the companies performed business transactions in accordance with international rules and US laws.