China policy round-up: Beijing launches data security initiative, Sino-US visa war heats up, Trump vows decoupling with Mainland
In this round-up, the foreign minister announces a global data security initiative, both American journalists and Chinese students face fresh visa restrictions, and president Donald Trump says his re-election will end the US’s reliance on China ‘once and for all’.
China has launched a global data security initiative, foreign minister Wang Yi announced when delivering the keynote speech at the international seminar on global digital governance on Tuesday.
Countries have the right to protect their data security, and they should also provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory environment for all companies to do business in, Wang said. He added that China has not and will not ask its companies to transfer data from overseas to the Chinese government in breach of the laws of other countries. He also warned against the politicising of data security issues and slandering.
More than 1,000 Chinese nationals have had their US visas revoked as of September 8, as the White House tries to block entry from Chinese graduate students and researchers with alleged military ties, according to Reuters.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian called the Trump administration’s move “blatant political persecution and racial discrimination”. He urged the US to stop restricting and limiting the rights of Chinese students to the country.
Meanwhile, China has imposed new visa restrictions targeting American news organisations, in response to recent delays by the US to renew the work visas of Chinese reporters based in the country.
According to various media reports, some Beijing-based foreign journalists working for the likes of Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and CNN were given a new visa valid for only two months, instead of the usual one year.
Senior US officials and their affiliated companies will be sanctioned by China if they visit Taiwan for a trade talk, editor-in-chief of Global Times Hu Xijin warned on social media.
Zhao at the Chinese foreign ministry declined to comment specifically on Hu’s remarks at a press conference, but urged the US to stop any official interactions with Taiwan.
The September 15 deadline for the sale of TikTok’s US operations will not be extended, Trump said this week. A successful transaction has been complicated by new technology export restrictions recently announced by China.
Trump reiterated his plan to impose tariffs on firms that refuse to move jobs back from overseas, and vowed to end the US’s reliance on China “once and for all” after his re-election, when speaking to reporters on Monday US time. Companies that outsource to China will be forbidden from winning federal contracts, Trump reportedly said.
The Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC) fell by nearly 11% on Monday following a Reuters report last Friday suggesting it might be added to a trade blacklist by the US. The wire said the US Department of Defense is looking to block American companies from providing goods and services to SMIC.
SMIC said in a statement that it is “strictly complying with the laws and regulations of all jurisdictions where it performs its businesses” with “no relationship with the Chinese military”, and that it is “in complete shock and perplexity to the news”.
The US Customs and Border Protection has detained imported merchandise produced by three companies based in mainland China, while planning to add six more names to the restricted list. This is for alleged forced labour abuses in the Chinese province of Xinjiang. The firms already sanctioned are Hero Vast Group, Lop County Meixin Hair Product Co and Hetian Haolin Hair Accessories Co.
The US has also prepared orders to block the import of cotton and tomatoes from the region, according to Reuters.