The United States accused China on Tuesday of "threatening" and "harassing" foreign journalists after the Asian country refused to renew press credentials for several employees of American media organizations.
China's record of "threatening, harassing, and expelling the US and other foreign journalists goes back decades", US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement provided by the US Embassy in Beijing.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs recently informed the US embassy in Beijing of new curbs on foreign reporters "by denying them press card renewals and refusing to process pending visa applications for journalists who were expelled earlier this year," she said.
The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China (FCCC) confirmed the news on Monday after at least five journalists at four media groups including the Wall Street Journal, CNN and Bloomberg, had been denied new press cards.
Foreign press corps are expected to witness further pressure as more journalists will receive similar treatment in the coming weeks.
According to the State Department spokeswoman, the US has been "working relentlessly" to convince China to allow US journalists back into the country.
As per the FCCC, 17 foreign journalists were expelled from China which is a record. These journalists are not allowed to work in China without valid press cards, which are also a requirement for gaining a residence permit.
However, these foreign reporters receive letters that temporarily allow them to work using their expired press cards, but these "could be revoked at any time", the FCCC said.