In a State Department press release on Wednesday, Sept. 2, Secretary Michael Pompeo announced increased restrictions on Chinese diplomats’ travel, meetings with academics, and organizing events within the United States. The decision follows similar restrictions imposed on U.S. officials by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
The statement begins by reporting that for many years, the CCP has imposed significant restrictions on U.S. officials working in China. The goal, it says, is to prevent diplomats from conducting any regular negotiations and connecting with Chinese people.
Instead, the report continues, Chinese officials in the United States have always enjoyed freedom and access to American society. As Pompeo argues, the United States has repeatedly invited the CCP to act with the same reciprocity and mutual respect, but it has not shown the same interest. This is why the State Department is forced to impose certain requirements on diplomats from China.
From now on, high-level Chinese diplomats, both those based in the United States and visitors, must obtain permission to enter American universities or meet with local government officials. Cultural events with more than 50 people organized by the Chinese Embassy and consular offices off its property will also require State Department approval.
With respect to the Chinese Embassy and consular social media networks, the Department of State will also take steps to help ensure that all accounts are properly identified as official accounts of the government of China.
The U.S. Embassy in China is barred from unrestricted access to local social networks, while Chinese citizens cannot use Twitter and Facebook, among other social networking platforms.
According to Fox News, last month, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) announced that it would impose sanctions on 11 U.S. citizens, including Republican Sens. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, and Pat Toomey. 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 these new requirements for CCP diplomats are simply a response to the excessive restrictions imposed on U.S. diplomats.
He ends the report by saying, “Should the PRC [CCP] eliminate the restrictions imposed on U.S. diplomats, we stand ready to reciprocate.”