News crews will be able to travel between the United States and China more easily, following a new deal between Washington and Beijing on Nov. 15.
Joe Biden and Xi Jinping reached some common ground after holding a 3.5 hour-long virtual summit. Both nations will grant media workers multiple-entry visas that are valid for up to one year. They will also introduce more measures to tackle “duration of status” challenges.
Anyone granted entry will have their profile scanned under “relevant laws and regulations,” according to the Associated Press.
The U.S. State Department confirmed this relaxation is just the “initial steps” of restoring press freedoms between the two nations.
In February 2020, the Trump administration identified five Chinese state media agencies in the United States as “foreign missions.” The move came after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) turned visas into “weapons against the foreign press like never before.”
“[State-run media is] clearly controlled by the [Chinese Communist Party,] and we are simply recognizing that fact by taking this action,” then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said according to Axios.
The CCP quickly retaliated to the announcement by revoking press credentials from many U.S. journalists in China who worked for the New York Times, Washington Post, and Wall Street Journal.
International press is strictly monitored in mainland China. Reporters often complain about police interference, harassment, and threats.
China ranked 177th out of 180 nations for press freedom in 2019, according to Reporters Without Borders.
The State Department previously urged the CCP to free one Chinese journalist, who nearly died just a year after being jailed for reporting on the Wuhan virus outbreak.