China and US agree to ease restrictions on journalists
China and the US have agreed to ease restrictions on each other’s journalists amid a slight easing of tensions between the two sides.
The official China Daily newspaper said on Wednesday that the agreement was reached ahead of the virtual summit between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and US president Joe Biden held a day earlier.
Under the agreement, the US will issue one-year multiple-entry visas to Chinese journalists and will immediately initiate a process to address “duration of status” issues, China Daily said. China will reciprocate by granting equal treatment to US journalists once the US policies take effect, and both sides will issue media visas for new applicants “based on relevant laws and regulations”, the report said.
In a statement to Associated Press late on Tuesday, the US state department said China had committed to issuing visas for a group of American reporters “provided they are eligible under all applicable laws and regulations”.
“We will also continue issuing visas to [Chinese] journalists who are otherwise eligible for the visa under US law,” the statement said.
China also committed to increase the length for which US media visas are valid from the current 90 days to one year.
“On a reciprocal basis, we are committing to increase validity of US visas issued to PRC journalists to one year as well,” the state department statement said, referring to the People’s Republic of China.
Both sides will also offer multiple-entry visas, it said.
Limits on media workers have fuelled tensions between the two countries for more than a year after the US limited the number of visas issued to Chinese state media workers and required those remaining to register as foreign agents, among other changes.
China responded by expelling journalists working for US outlets and severely restricting conditions for those continuing to work in the country.