China has asked the last Indian reporter in Beijing from news agency PTI to leave, Bloomberg reported on Monday. Four reporters from Indian media outlets were based in China earlier this year.
However, in April, China had barred state-run Prasar Bharati’s reporter Anshuman Mishra and The Hindu correspondent Ananth Krishnan from returning to the country. Both of them were reporting on China but were in India when their visas had been “frozen”.
Last weekend, Sutirtho Patranobis, the reporter from the Hindustan Times, was also told to leave the country, reported the newspaper.
The development comes as geopolitical tensions between the two countries remain high.
Last month, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning alleged that the action against Indian reporters was taken as Chinese reporters had been subjected to “unfair and discriminatory treatment” in India for a long time. She said that the number of Chinese journalists in India has plummeted from 14 to just one.
“In 2017, the Indian side shortened the period of validity of visas held by Chinese journalists in India to three months or even one month without any valid reason,” Mao had claimed. “Since 2020, the Indian side has refused to review and approve Chinese journalists’ applications for stationing in India.”
On June 2, Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said that New Delhi allows all foreign journalists to operate in India without any difficulties. Bagchi had said that the Indian government allows foreign journalists to hire locals to run their bureaus. Drawing a comparison with the neighbouring country, he said that Indian journalists face several restrictions while travelling within China.
According to Bloomberg, the visa spat between New Delhi and Beijing was over Indian journalists hiring assistants in China to help with their reporting. While India has no cap on hiring locals for assistance in reporting, Beijing had limited employment to three individuals at a time who must come from a pool provided by the Chinese authorities, Bloomberg reported.
The eviction of accredited journalists from China and India is the latest flashpoint in the strained relationship between the two neighbouring countries since the militaries of the two countries clashed in Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh in June 2020. Tensions had flared at multiple friction points, with both countries stationing tens of thousands of troops backed by artillery, tanks and fighter jets.