Chinese officials warned their US counterparts as early as the summer that they may detain Americans in China if the US doesnt stop prosecuting Chinese academics, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
China sent repeated warnings through multiple channels, including the US Embassy in Beijing, the report said.
The US charged several Chinese scientists who were conducting research at US universities with concealing ties to the Chinese military. The prosecutions have become a flashpoint of tension between the US and China, which have since closed each others diplomatic missions in Houston and Chengdu.
A US State Department spokesman declined to address the specifics of the newspaper report, the Journal said.
We are aware that the Chinese government has, in other instances, detained American, Canadian and other individuals without legal basis to retaliate against lawful prosecutions and to exert pressure on their governments, with a callous disregard of the individuals involved, the newspaper quoted John Demers, head of the Justice Departments national security division, as saying.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington and Chinas Ministry of Foreign Affairs didnt respond to the newspapers requests for comment, it said.
= The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines