A spokesman for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) announced in a statement Friday night, Sept. 11, new restrictions on the activities of U.S. diplomats working in mainland China and Hong Kong. The Party justified its decision by saying that the measures seek to equalize the restrictions exercised by the United States on Chinese diplomats since last year. The announcement came just 10 days after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued new restrictions on Chinese officials.
According to an Associated News report, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said the restrictions would apply to senior diplomats and all other personnel of the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and the consulates on the mainland.
No details were given about the new restrictions or when they would be implemented. It should be noted that U.S. diplomats have been under severe restrictions for years, including which parts of China they are allowed to visit and which parts they are not, such as university campuses where they are barred.
While the United States has also recently tightened restrictions on Chinese officials, who must now apply for permission to visit university campuses, give advance notice of meetings with U.S. officials or politicians, travel, and cultural events, these measures were taken precisely to equalize certain long-standing restrictions on U.S. officials.
The State Department’s press release issued last week begins by reporting that for many years the CCP has imposed significant barriers on U.S. officials working in the China. The goal, the CCP said, is to prevent diplomats from conducting any regular negotiations and connecting with the Chinese people.
It is therefore ironic that a few days after the U.S. press release, the CCP announced new restrictions, arguing that the State Department’s restrictions are equivalent to the measures.
As it is known, the U.S. Embassy in China has always vetoed unrestricted access to local social networks, while Chinese citizens cannot use Twitter and Facebook, among other Western social networking platforms.
The restrictions don’t just apply to officials working in China, according to Fox News, the CCP announced last month that it would impose sanctions on 11 U.S. citizens, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.). The State Department, at the time, described the move as an effort by Beijing to “extend authoritarian rule beyond its borders.”
Pompeo’s statement insists that the United States promotes reciprocal access to educational and cultural institutions for U.S. diplomats both in China and elsewhere in the world. And it asserts that the new requirements for Chinese Communist Party diplomats are simply a response to the excessive restrictions imposed on U.S. diplomats.
He ends the report by saying, “If the People’s Republic of China removes the restrictions on U.S. diplomats, we are willing to reciprocate.” Far from it, 10 days later, the CCCP tightened the restrictions.