Reporters and White House officials who served in the last two administrations are criticizing President Trump and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders for accepting China's request not to allow questions after Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a joint statement to the press.

Trump appeared alongside Xi on Thursday after a day of meetings to deliver a joint press statement in Beijing's Tiananmen Square. Neither leader took questions from reporters, and Sanders said it was “at the Chinese insistence there were no questions today.”

Sanders’ explanation raised the eyebrows of officials who worked for former President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush, who said the White House should have pushed for additional press access during the event.

“The Chinese try this every time. It’s a test of will and principle. Letting them dictate press access is an embarrassing capitulation,” former White House press secretary Jay Carney tweeted.

Carney noted that the last three presidents all insisted on taking questions during their visit to China, and recalled an uncomfortable moment when a reporter asked Xi about press freedoms during a joint press conference in 2014. Carney was Obama’s White House press secretary from 2011 to 2014.

“I once had to tell Chinese officials that Pres. Obama would not show up for the press avail unless there would be a Q&A. They backed down,” Carney tweeted.

Former national security adviser Susan Rice also criticized Trump for not taking questions from reporters after delivering his statement alongside Xi, calling it “lame.”

“They always insist, Sarah. The trick is to use diplomacy to extract that concession as a matter of principle, despite the resistance,” Rice tweeted, responding to Sanders’ explanation for why Trump didn’t take questions.

Brad Dayspring, who worked as the deputy director of press advance for Bush, said though China “regularly insisted” on U.S. and Chinese leaders not taking questions, the “WH team fought for greater press access, including questions.”

“Never got everything we pushed for, but always expanded access from Chinese demands & ensured questions were taken alongside Chinese President. It’s an important demonstration of American press freedoms,” Dayspring tweeted.

Several members of the press agreed that Trump let China get away with too much.

"China isn't supposed to have a say about press access. Previous press secretaries used to fight with Chinese counterparts for press access when in China," Todd tweeted, adding that he has personally witnessed disagreements between former White House staffers and Chinese officials over the format of press conferences.

Jim Sciutto, the chief national security correspondent for CNN, described the situation as "a remarkable concession from the president of a country with a First Amendment."

A Washington Post reporter said the episode was "effectively rolling back the small gain in press access Obama won in 2014 when Xi took [a question] from U.S. reporter."

"Trump plays by China's rules on media access," read a Thursday morning headline by Axios.

China has long been criticized by the international community for controlling the image of the country and its leaders through the state censorship of academic papers, news reports and social media platforms.

According to CNN, Obama did not take questions from reporters during his first visit to China. Obama did, however, take questions during a trip to China in 2014.

Former President Bill Clinton and Bush each answered questions from reporters during their maiden trips in 1998 and 2002, respectively.