U.S. and Chinese national flags fly outside a company based in China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone in Shanghai, China, October 22, 2013.
Tomohiro Ohsumi | Bloomberg | Getty Images
China is planning tighter visa restrictions for US citizens affiliated with anti-China groups, said people with knowledge of the proposed curb, following similar US restrictions on Chinese nationals, as the relationship between countries was sour.
For several months, China's Ministry of Public Security has worked with regulations to restrict anyone employed or sponsored by US intelligence and human rights groups to travel to China.
The proposed changes follow the introduction of the United States to tighter rules for visas for Chinese scholars in May.
New US visa restrictions announced on Tuesday by Chinese authorities and Communist Party officials, which the United States believes are responsible for the detention or abuse of Muslim minorities, had strengthened the case for the new Chinese restrictions, one source said.
"This is not something we want to do, but we don't seem to have a choice," the source said.
The Chinese rules would mandate the preparation of a list of US military and CIA-affiliated institutions and rights groups, and the addition of their employees to a visa blacklist, according to the sources, who declined to be identified.
The tighter restrictions come amid increased concern in Beijing that the United States and other governments are using such organizations to encourage government protests in both mainland China and Hong Kong, and will also be retaliating for US visa restrictions on Chinese researchers and officials, the first source said.
"The plan has been widely debated by senior police officers in recent months, but made more likely to be implemented following the Hong Kong protests and the US visa ban on Chinese officials," the source said.
China's National Immigration Administration, operating under the Ministry of Public Security, did not immediately respond to a fax request for comment.
US-China rivalry is driven by a number of issues, including commercial competition, human rights, and security concerns.
The United States took a major step in confronting China in May when it added Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies and 70 affiliates to the so-called Entity List, which bans the Chinese company from acquiring components and technology from US companies without US approval.
The United States suspects that Huawie's equipment could be used by Beijing to spy, something the Chinese company has repeatedly denied. [1
The US Department of Commerce cited Monday's abuse of Uighur Muslims and others in a decision to blacklist 20 Chinese public security agencies and eight companies, including the world's largest video surveillance equipment manufacturer, Hikvision, and the world's most valuable startup of artificial intelligence, SenseTime.
The US moves have thrown a pallet over US-China trade talks in Washington on Thursday and Friday between Chinese Deputy Prime Minister Liu He and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Finance Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The United States is also continuing discussions about possible restrictions on capital flows to China, focusing on investments by US state pension funds, Bloomberg reported.
The last visa restrictions on visa restrictions began in April when some prominent Chinese scholars had their US visas revoked.
The following month, the United States introduced legislation intended to prohibit anyone employed or sponsored by the Chinese military from obtaining a student or research visa.
China has condemned what it sees as punitive US action against its nationals.
United States citizens hoping to visit mainland China must apply for entry visa. US pastors do not need a visa to enter Hong Kong.