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China's People's Daily refuses to publish U.S. ambassador's article - Pompeo

Sept 9 (Reuters) - The Communist Party’s People’s Daily refused to publish an opinion piece by the U.S. ambassador to China, whereas Chinese officials have been able to give their government’s views in U.S. media, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday.

“The People’s Daily’s response once again exposes the Chinese Communist Party’s fear of free speech and serious intellectual debate – as well as Beijing’s hypocrisy when it complains about lack of fair and reciprocal treatment in other countries,” Pompeo said in a statement.

The refusal by the People’s Daily comes after a U.S. decision to revoke more than 1,000 visas of Chinese nationals this week, in a move to block the entry of Chinese students and researchers believed to have links to the Chinese military. Titled “Resetting the Relationship Based on Reciprocity”, Ambassador Terry Branstad’s article referred to an imbalance in the U.S.-China relationship, noting that U.S. companies, journalists, diplomats, and even civil society suffered unequal access in China.

“While U.S. journalists face restrictions on reporting and even entering China, Chinese state media workers have long enjoyed open access in the United States,” he added.

Issuing its response in a letter, People’s Daily said the U.S. envoy’s article failed to meet its standards.

“In our opinion, the op-ed in the name of Ambassador Branstad is full of loopholes and seriously inconsistent with facts.”

The newspaper also accused the United States of suppressing Chinese journalists by expelling them, and by adopting discriminatory visa restriction measures.

Earlier in the week, Beijing held off renewing expiring press credentials for journalists at U.S. media outlets, including Bloomberg, CNN and the Wall Street Journal, the news organisations reported.

The stalling by Beijing comes as Chinese journalists in the United States wait for their lapsed work visas to be renewed.

Chinese journalists have been allowed to stay in the United States during a 90-day grace period that expires in early November, according to people familiar with the matter. (Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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