China decries 'unfair, discriminatory' treatment of its journalists in India

China decries 'unfair, discriminatory' treatment of its journalists in India

Beijing accuses New Delhi of not renewing visa of last Chinese journalist in country

By Anadolu staff

ANKARA (AA) - China on Wednesday said the number of Chinese journalists stationed in neighboring India is about to "drop to zero," as New Delhi still has not renewed the visa of the last Chinese journalist in the country.

"Chinese journalists have suffered unfair and discriminatory treatment in India for a long time, " Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told a weekly briefing in Beijing.

Her remarks follows heightened tensions between the two Asian giants, which in recent months have spread to the media.

Asked whether the two countries have effectively kicked out each other’s journalists recently by denying visa renewals, Mao said since 2020, New Delhi has refused to review or approve Chinese journalists’ applications for being stationed in India.

As a result, she added, the number of Chinese journalists stationed in India has plummeted from a normal number of over a dozen to just one.

In 2017, she said, India shortened the period of validity of visas held by Chinese journalists in India to three months or even just one "without any valid reason."

"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 maintained.

In an apparent tit-for-tat move last month, Beijing “froze” the visas of two Indian journalists based in Beijing, telling them not to return to China.

However, Mao added, Beijing is still willing to maintain communications with India under the principles of "mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit."

"We hope that India will work in the same direction as China, seriously respond to China’s legitimate concerns, and take concrete steps as soon as possible to create favorable conditions for restoring normal exchange between the media organizations of the two countries," she said.

The latest development comes amid disagreements between New Delhi and Beijing over their territorial claims in the Indian northeastern province of Arunachal Pradesh, which China refers to as the southern part of the Tibetan autonomous region.

Since May 2020, the two countries have been locked in a standoff along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) – the de facto border between China and India in the Ladakh area of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir region.

In June 2020, at least 20 Indian and four Chinese soldiers were killed in a border clash.

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