Trump briefs the press on coronavirus. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

In a briefing to reporters on Monday, senior Trump administration officials announced a set of restrictions to be placed on Chinese journalists operating in the United States.

Why it matters: The unprecedented restrictions are aimed at upholding "reciprocity" in U.S.-China relations amid a deteriorating media environment in China, the officials said.

Details: U.S. administration officials said that two types of restrictions will be put into place in the coming weeks.

  • The administration will place a duration of stay on all Chinese nationals who are in the United States on I visas, the visa type given to foreign media workers. They will be eligible to request extensions when their visas expire.
  • The five Chinese state-run media outlets that were recently designated by the State Department as "foreign missions" will now face a limit on the total number of Chinese nationals working for them in the United States at any given time.

What they're saying:

  • The Trump administration wants to "inject reciprocity into visa procedures," said one senior administration official. "The objective is to introduce a degree of fairness in our relationship with China."
  • "We’ve issued 3,000 I visas to Chinese nationals working in the US media space," said an administration official. By contrast, the number of American journalists working in China is in the dozens.

Background: The new restrictions come in the aftermath of China's expulsion of three Wall Street Journal reporters in China.

  • Beijing currently imposes duration of stay on all foreign reporters, some as short as one month.

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