The Trump Administration is seeking to restrict the stay of journalists from China in the US to just 90 days with the provision of another extension for a similar duration, according to a federal notification.
The move came amidst worsening of bilateral ties over a range of issues like the coronavirus pandemic, trade, Beijing’s increasing grip on Hong Kong and alleged human rights abuses against minorities in the Xinjiang province.
The proposal of the Department of Homeland Security is part of the fixed time limit on visas of students, researchers and foreign journalists in the US.
While the time limit for foreign journalists in general has been restricted to 240 days and another extension of a similar period, those for a journalist from China would be issued a I visa by the United States just for 90 days, as per the federal notification issued on Friday.
Stake holders have 30 days to respond to the federal notification before it can be enforced.
Foreign nationals travelling on a passport issued by China or Hong Kong would be issued I visa – which is the category for a foreign journalist — may be admitted until the activities or assignments consistent with the I classification are completed, not to exceed 90 days, the notification said.
Passport holders from Macau Special Administrative Region have been given exception.
The extension for Chinese journalists is also for 90 days only.
Foreign journalists and their dependents would have to leave the country immediately on expiry of their I visa or denial of their extension application.
Previously, foreign journalists were admitted in the US for the duration of their employment. Previously, foreign journalists were admitted in the US for the duration of their employment.
In March, the State Department asked Chinese media outlets to reduce their number of staff in the US.
Four Chinese State-run media outlets — Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International and China Daily- were asked to reduce their total staff of 160 Chinese nationals to 100.
In June, the US designated four top state-run Chinese media houses as "foreign missions,” terming them as "propaganda" outlets "controlled" by the ruling Communist Party of China.
In February, the US had designated five other Chinese state-run media houses.
These nine entities all meet the definition of a foreign mission under the Foreign Missions Act, which is to say that they are substantially owned or effectively controlled by a foreign government, the State Department had said.