administration to cap number of employees at Chinese media outlets in U.S.

By Humeyra Pamuk

WASHINGTON, March 2 (Reuters) - The United States is slashing the number of Chinese employees permitted to work at the U.S. offices of major Chinese state-owned media outlets to retaliate against Beijing over its "long-standing intimidation and harassment of journalists," senior State Department officials said on Monday.

China last month revoked the visas of three Wall Street Journal reporters in Beijing after the newspaper declined to apologize for a column with a headline calling China the "real sick man of Asia". Another reporter with the paper had to leave last year after China declined to renew his visa. One of the State Department officials said the U.S. decision was not particularly linked to the Wall Street Journal case.

"For years, the (Chinese) government has imposed increasingly harsh surveillance, harassment and intimidation against American and other foreign journalists in China," a senior State Department official told reporters in a briefing. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk Editing by Alistair Bell)

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