China Blocks Visa to Senior State Dept Official


The Chinese government denied a visa to a senior State Department official just days before the country’s vice president came to D.C. for a round of meetings with the Obama administration.

The Washington Post reports:

Suzan Johnson Cook, the U.S. ambassador at large for international religious freedom, was scheduled to travel to China on Feb. 8, according to several rights advocates who were invited to brief her ahead of the visit. But as the date drew near, Chinese leaders refused to grant her meetings with government officials.

They then cited her lack of scheduled meetings as a reason for denying her visa application, according to the advocates and a congressional aide, who were briefed on the situation.

The disclosure comes one day into the diplomatically sensitive visit by Xi Jinping — China’s presumptive next president — during a week that the Obama administration hopes will help ease tense U.S.-China relations.