Beijing has denied reports that officials repeatedly warned they would arrest American citizens in response to the detention of Chinese academics in the US, slamming Washington for its “repression” of the Chinese researchers.

Washington has been accused of “outright political repression” by Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, in a regular news briefing on Monday.

The US claim that foreign nationals in China are under threat of arbitrary detention is playing the victim and confusing black and white.

Zhao’s remarks come in response to allegations published in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday which claimed that Beijing has repeatedly threatened to lock up Americans in China if the US does not stop its persecution of Chinese academics.

In July this year, it was announced that four Chinese researchers had been charged with visa fraud by the US Department of Justice. The researchers are accused of hiding their affiliations with the People’s Liberation Army in their visa applications.

Zhao, in his Friday remarks, claimed that certain US politicians were “lying through one’s teeth” and that they find glory in “lying, cheating and stealing.”

The expression “lying through one’s teeth” is a perfect fit for certain US politicians who see US glory in “lying, cheating and stealing”.

Tensions between the two superpowers have heightened greatly throughout the year. On Thursday, Beijing slammed Washington for its role in undermining regional stability as the US Navy destroyer, USS Barry, sailed through the Taiwan Strait. Washington claimed the vessel was conducting “routine transit.”

Throughout 2020, the two nations have introduced multiple reciprocal restrictions on each other’s diplomats and last week Beijing called on Asian nations to unite against Washington’s “old-fashioned Cold War mentality.”

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