Beijing: India will not have a media presence in the second-largest economy in the world after Beijing asked the last reporter, from the Press Trust of India (PTI) news agency, to leave this month when his visa expires.
The dispute over media staff is the latest episode to highlight the tension between the neighbours since a deterioration in ties in mid-2020 when troops from both countries clashed at several places near the disputed Pangong Lake in Ladakh and Tibet, and near the border between Sikkim and Tibet. The face-off resulted in the death of 24 people.
China has declined to renew the visas of the last two Indian journalists based there, citing India taking similar action this month against the two remaining Chinese state media journalists in India.
One of the two Indians, a reporter for the Hindustan Times, left China on Sunday as his visa expired, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter.
India had four reporters based in China this year but two -- one from the public broadcaster Doordarshan and the other from The Hindu newspaper -- were barred from returning in April after their visas were frozen.
On Monday, China called on India to meet it halfway in a dispute over journalists working in each other's countries after China said its reporters in India had been treated unfairly.
"In recent years, Chinese journalists in India have been accorded unfair and discriminatory arrangements," Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a Monday briefing.
"We hope that India will continue to issue visas for Chinese journalists and remove the unreasonable restrictions and create favourable conditions for media exchanges."
Wang said India had not approved new visas for Chinese journalists since 2020, resulting in a drop from 14 to only one Chinese correspondent there.
"It is very unfortunate that nothing has been done on the Indian side," he said.
"China is ready to act on the principles of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit to keep in communications with the Indian side, and we hope that India will meet China halfway."
India approved temporary visas for Chinese state media reporters visiting for a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation foreign ministers' meeting in May, one of the sources said.
India's foreign ministry said this month it hoped China would allow Indian journalists to work in China, adding that India allowed all foreign journalists to operate there.