Washington, D.C., May 11, 2020 — In response to new visa restrictions imposed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security against Chinese nationals working as journalists in the United States, the Committee to Protect Journalists issued the following statement:
“The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is playing a fool’s game with its decision to restrict journalist visas issued to Chinese citizens during a global pandemic, when the free flow of information is more important than ever,” said Steven Butler, CPJ’s Asia program coordinator. “This move by the United States only invites further harsh retaliation from China, where the expulsions of U.S. journalists have already devastated U.S.-owned news operations in the country, partly blinding the world to China’s response to COVID-19.”
On May 8, the department announced that Chinese nationals working for non-U.S. news outlets would only be able to receive 90-day work visas, with visa renewals also limited to 90-day stays.
In March, China revoked the press credentials of at least 13 U.S. journalists, effectively expelling them from the country, after the U.S. government designated five Chinese state media organizations as foreign missions and imposed a limit on the number of visas issued to Chinese citizens working for those outlets, as CPJ documented at the time.