Journalists and airlines are the two latest groups affected by the deterioration in the relationship between China and the United States.
Since the “tariff wars” and the onset of COVID-19, the relationship between China and the United States has become ever more complicated.
In early May, the Trump Administration changed the I visa rules for Chinese journalists working in the United States for non-U.S. media outlets. I visas are specifically for members of the foreign media. In the past, these visas were open-ended in terms of the time frame. Now, for Chinese journalists, they will be limited to 90 days, with the possibility of 90-day extensions. This change was in part a response to China’s expulsion in March of American journalists from major U.S. newspapers. That expulsion came after the State Department cut the number of Chinese citizens who could be in the United States working for Chinese state-controlled news agencies from 160 to 100. Prior to that, China had been granting shorter duration visas to resident foreign journalists.
In early June, the Trump Administration announced that as of June 16 (and possibly sooner), it would block Chinese airlines from flying into the U.S. because China has essentially prohibited U.S. airlines from flying to China. The dispute started in March, when China limited the number of flights available to foreign airlines based on their flight schedules from earlier in the month. Because U.S. carriers had stopped flying to China at that time due to COVID-19, they were cut out of the market. In the meantime, four Chinese airlines have been operating on the China-to-U.S. route. Two U.S. carriers hoped to restart China flights on June 1, 2020, and appealed to the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority for relief. They did not receive a response at that time. After the U.S. Administration announced its ban, the Chinese Civil Aviation Authority said it would allow U.S. carriers back on a limited schedule. While the Administration attempts to negotiate a way for China and the U.S. to “exercise their bilateral rights,” they agreed to a reciprocal approach. Chinese carriers will be able to have as many flights to the U.S. as U.S. carriers have flights to China.
Reacting to China’s newly announced controls over Hong Kong, President Donald Trump has issued a Presidential Proclamation banning the entry of Chinese nationals on F or J visas who wish to do graduate study or post-graduate research that would advance China’s military capabilities as security risks. He also has stated that “he would revoke Hong Kong’s preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from China.”
Jackson Lewis will continue to follow these issues and provide updates as they become available.