China eyes restrictions on visas for US visitors

China eyes restrictions on visas for US visitors
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China's government is readying a plan to blacklist the employees of U.S. intelligence services and organizations focused on human rights in China, preventing those employees from obtaining a visa.

Reuters reported Wednesday that the Chinese government's plan comes on the heels of new visa restrictions on Chinese Communist Party officials announced by the Trump administration Tuesday.

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The rules being considered by China’s Ministry of Public Security were reportedly accelerated by weeks of massive protests in Hong Kong that have received international support, including in the U.S. Support for protesters has become a controversial subject, as businesses including video game manufacturer Blizzard and the NBA have both taken fire from lawmakers and activists for their efforts to tamp down on anti-Chinese speech by their respective employees and players.

“This is not something we want to do but we don’t seem to have any choice,” a source close to the Chinese discussions on the issue told Reuters.

“The plan has been widely discussed by senior police officers over recent months, but made more likely to be implemented after the Hong Kong protests and the U.S. visa ban on Chinese officials,” they added.

Protests have rocked the Chinese province of Hong Kong for months, originally over a now-abandoned bill that would have allowed its citizens to be extradited to mainland China to face trials over some criminal charges.

In recent weeks, the protests have shifted to general concerns about the Hong Kong provincial government and China, including police brutality and human rights abuses.