| 13 April 2024, Saturday |

China hopes India can meet it halfway in media row

China urged India on Monday to meet it halfway in a disagreement over journalists working in each other’s countries, after China said that its reporters in India were treated unjustly and that an Indian journalist was asked to leave China.

The issue over media personnel is the latest incident to underscore tensions between the Asian neighbors since relations deteriorated in mid-2020 when their military battled on their disputed Himalayan border, killing 24 people.

“In recent years, Chinese journalists in India have been accorded unfair and discriminatory arrangements,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a Monday briefing.

“We hope that India will continue to issue visas for Chinese journalists and remove the unreasonable restrictions and create favourable conditions for media exchanges.”

China has declined to renew the visas of the last two Indian journalists based there, citing India taking similar action this month against the two remaining Chinese state media journalists in India.

One of the two Indians, a reporter for the Hindustan Times, left China on Sunday as his visa expired, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.

The last Indian reporter in China, from Press Trust of India news agency, will leave this month when his visa expires, the sources said.

India had four reporters based in China this year but two were barred from returning in April after being said that their visas were frozen.

That leaves India without a media presence in the world’s second largest economy.

Wang said India had not approved new visas for Chinese journalists since 2020, resulting in a drop from 14 to only one Chinese correspondent there.

“It is very unfortunate that nothing has been done on the Indian side,” he said.

“China is ready to act on the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit to keep in communications with the Indian side, and we hope that India will meet China halfway.”

India’s foreign ministry said this month it hoped China would allow Indian journalists to work in China, adding that India allowed all foreign journalists to operate there.

  • Reuters