The Standard: New Unit to Vet Sensitive Visas
Wed August, 2020, Age: 4 years
Hong Kong newspaper The Standard reported that the city’s immigration department has set up a new national security unit to handle sensitive visa applications, including those from foreign media and Taiwanese organizations. It has been reported that this unit was involved in delays for visa renewals for several foreign media organizations, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Journalists have been impacted by the ongoing decline in U.S.-China relations, when the U.S. government designated nine Chinese state-run media outlets, including Xinhua, People’s Daily, and China Central Television (CCTV), as foreign missions and imposed staff visa quotas back in February and June. In retaliation, China expelled U.S. reporters and withdrew press credentials for journalists working for three U.S. newspapers, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. Several of the journalists expelled had recently reported on the Chinese government’s mishandling of the COVID-19 outbreak. Earlier this year, China was ranked 177 out of 180 on the World Press Freedom Index compiled by Reporters Without Borders.