China says US has 'weaponized' visas to target exchanges

BEIJING — China on Wednesday accused the U.S. of having "weaponized" the issuance of visas following the reported inability of a top Chinese space program official to obtain permission to travel to a key conference in Washington.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters that the head of the Chinese delegation to the International Astronautical Congress wasn't able to obtain a visa following an Oct. 12 interview, making it difficult for Chinese representatives to attend important events at the meeting.

Reports said the vice chairman of the China National Space Administration, Wu Yanhua, had planned to attend the congress.

Hua said the U.S. has "weaponized" visa issuances and "repeatedly defied international responsibilities and obligations and impeded normal international exchanges and cooperation."

She said that "threatened and damaged the legitimate rights and interests of all parties in the international community.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said it couldn't discuss individual visa cases because of privacy issues.

Hua said that "for some time, the U.S. has frequently rejected and delayed visa applications, revoked long-term visas of Chinese applicants and investigated and harassed the Chinese scholars, students, businesspeople, and scientific and technical personnel."

China last year launched more missions to orbit than any other country, and is on track to do the same this year. Those missions include the first-ever soft-landing of a space craft on the far side of the moon.

However, close ties between the Chinese space program and the country's military have limited its participation in multinational efforts, including the International Space Station. China is instead building its own permanent station and has invited other countries to join in the effort.

The visa incident also comes amid a simmering trade war between China and the U.S. in which accusations that China steals or coerces foreign firms into handing over sensitive technology have played a major role.

Related News

United passenger's removal sparks outrage in China

Apr 11, 2017

Images of a bloodied passenger being forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight drew widespread...

Climbing Mount Tai: 6,000 steps up China's sacred...

May 9, 2017

Taishan, or Mount Tai, is China's most sacred mountain

4 tons of garbage collected in China's Everest...

May 11, 2017

Chinese state media say volunteers have cleared four tons of garbage from the Chinese north side of...

China moves to expand DNA testing in Muslim region

May 16, 2017

A rights group and independent observers say China appears to be laying the groundwork for the mass...

China rappers to Seoul: 'Big brother' opposes...

May 17, 2017

A rap group backed by China's government is warning South Korea in a video that "you're going too...

China conducts demolitions at Tibetan Buddhist...

May 19, 2017

Chinese authorities in southwestern Sichuan province have evicted followers and razed scores of...