US Proposal Would Crimp Visas for State-Run Media

China’s plans to expand the reach of its state media may stumble over a proposal by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) to limit the number of US visas granted to Chinese journalists from organisations such as Xinhua. The total, currently 650, would be capped at the number of journalists allowed to work in China for American government-owned media organisations: currently, two. From China Real Time Report:

“There is a very alarming disparity between the number of Chinese state media workers whom we grant visas to and the number of visas the Chinese grant to their American counterparts,” said Rep. Rohrabacher in a statement.

Examples of Chinese state-owned media, as listed by the proposal, include Xinhua and the English-language China Daily newspaper, among several others. The comparison is a bit of an odd one considering the U.S. doesn’t have a tradition of state-controlled press like China does. The two U.S. journalists in China working for U.S. government-owned media work for Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, Rep. Rohrabacher’s office says ….

Perhaps the proposal will be among the long list of House resolutions that never make it out of committee. On the other hand, an apparent growing anti-China sentiment in Washington could breathe it some life. Either way, one thing seems clear: Xinhua and other state-run Chinese media have an image problem abroad. That’s something speeches by Mr. Li and other top Chinese leaders won’t likely be able to change anytime soon.

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