Last Updated: June 01, 2023, 00:47 IST
China on Wednesday accused India of “unfair and discriminatory treatment” of Chinese journalists and threatened to take “appropriate countermeasures” against the country.
The allegation came in the wake of a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) report that said China and India have “effectively kicked out” a large number of each other’s journalists recently by denying visa renewals.
As per the WSJ report, New Delhi has declined to renew visas this month for the only two remaining Chinese state media journalists in the country.
The report said that Indian media had four journalists stationed in China. However, according to a Chinese official, at least two of them have not been granted visas to re-enter the country.
Additionally, a third journalist was informed this month that his accreditation had been revoked.
Speaking at a press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mao Ning said, “Chinese journalists have suffered unfair and discriminatory treatment in India for a long time. In 2017, the Indian side shortened the period of validity of visas held by Chinese journalists in India to three months or even one month without any valid reason.”
“Since 2020, the Indian side has refused to review and approve Chinese journalists’ applications for stationing in India. As a result, the number of Chinese journalists stationed in India has plummeted from 14 at the normal time to just one,” she added.
The Chinese spokesperson claimed that the Indian side still has not renewed the visa of the last Chinese journalist in the country.
“The number of Chinese journalists stationed in India is about to drop to zero. Considering this, the Chinese side has no choice but to take appropriate counter-measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese media organizations,” she added.
However, the Chinese spokesperson added that China is still willing to maintain communication with India.
Earlier in April, a media report said that China had frozen the visas of two Indian journalists. In response, the Ministry of External Affairs had said India hoped that the Chinese facilitate the continued presence of Indian journalists in Beijing.
During a press conference, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that there are Chinese journalists with valid Indian visas who are engaged in press activities.
“We don’t see any difficulties in doing reporting” (by Chinese journalists), he added.
India and China are locked in a lingering border standoff in eastern Ladakh for three years. The bilateral relationship came under severe strain following the deadly clash in Galwan Valley in Eastern Ladakh in June 2020.
India, as the current chair of G20, has arranged a series of nationwide meetings in preparation for the upcoming summit in New Delhi this September. In the past two months, Beijing has skipped G20 meetings held in Ladakh and Kashmir.
(With inputs from Shalinder Wangu)