For years, the PRC has imposed significant barriers on American diplomats working in the PRC that are far beyond diplomatic norms. PRC authorities implement a system of opaque approval processes designed to prevent American diplomats from conducting regular business and connecting with the Chinese people. U.S. diplomats’ attempts to host cultural events, secure official meetings, and visit university campuses are regularly obstructed.
In the United States, by contrast, PRC diplomats have enjoyed open access to American society, while ignoring sustained U.S. entreaties to improve the balance. In response to the PRC’s longstanding restrictions on U.S. diplomats and refusal to engage in good faith on fundamental matters of reciprocity and mutual respect, the Department of State is compelled to impose certain new requirements on PRC diplomats.
The Department of State will now require senior PRC diplomats in the United States to receive approval to visit U.S. university campuses and to meet with local government officials. Cultural events with an audience larger than 50 people hosted by the PRC embassy and consular posts outside of mission properties will also require Department of State approval. The Department of State will also take action to help ensure that all official PRC embassy and consular social media accounts are properly identified as PRC government accounts, since the U.S. Embassy is denied unfettered access to PRC social media and PRC citizens are blocked from using Twitter and Facebook, amongst other social media platforms.
The United States insists on reciprocal access to educational and cultural institutions for U.S. diplomats around the world. These new requirements on PRC diplomats are a direct response to the excessive restraints already placed on our diplomats by the PRC, and they aim to provide further transparency on the practices of the PRC government. Should the PRC eliminate the restrictions imposed on U.S. diplomats, we stand ready to reciprocate.