The United States reportedly has imposed major travel restrictions on members of China’s Communist Party.
Party members and their families are now banned from remaining in the U.S. for more than a month, according to The New York Times, which said a State Department spokesman confirmed the change.
Until the new rule was imposed Wednesday, party members could obtain visas for 10 years, the report said.
Travel visas are also being limited to a single entry rather than multiple entries.
In practice, the new rule is likely to be applied differently at different levels of party membership, recognizing the fact that for many Chinese academics, researchers and citizens, party membership is an essential part of moving up into a better-paying career, The Times said.
How and whether to apply the rule would be based on the visa application as well as an interview.
The State Department spokesman told The Times the new action is part of “ongoing policy, regulatory, and law-enforcement action across the U.S. government to protect our nation from the CCP’s malign influence.”
“For decades we allowed the CCP free and unfettered access to U.S. institutions and businesses while these same privileges were never extended freely to U.S. citizens in China,” he said.
China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said Thursday that she wasn’t aware of the U.S. visa action but it should be reversed.
“We hope people in the United States will adopt a common rational view toward China and give up their hatred and abnormal mind-set toward the Communist Party,” she said during a news conference, according to Bloomberg News.
The new rules comes after a year in which Chinese officials were forced to leave the consulate in Houston amid allegations of espionage and the Justice Department has arrested Chinese agents for espionage.
President Donald Trump’s action is part of what has been characterized as a full-fledged campaign to rein in China, according to the Washington Examiner.
“[O]ver the coming weeks, the Trump administration will continue to expand the depth and breadth of the historic actions it has taken over the past four years to protect the vital interests of the United States and its allies countering Beijing’s predatory and coercive behaviors,” the Examiner said it was told by a senior administration official.
The report said other steps could include sanctions against Chinese officials perpetrating abuses against the Uighurs in western China and stamping out democracy in Hong Kong. The administration also could act against China’s fishing industry and further curb imports produced through forced labor.
The Examiner also said that the U.S. will try to block allies from using technology made by the Chinese-owned Huawei company by dangling the possible tactic of not sharing intelligence information as an incentive to comply.
“President Trump has absolutely changed the game when it comes to implementing strong actions on the Chinese Communist Party over the past four years and forging a bipartisan and international consensus on the need to counter Beijing’s harmful policies,” National Security Council spokesman John Ullyot said. “Unless Beijing reverses course and becomes a responsible player on the global stage, future U.S. presidents will find it politically suicidal to reverse President Trump’s historic actions.”
In June, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced restrictions on Chinese Communist Party officials who had undermined Hong Kong’s traditional freedom.
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