The United States has designated the US operations of six more China-based media companies as foreign missions in the latest round of pushback after Beijing’s restrictions on US journalists.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said the six companies — Yicai Global, Jiefang Daily, the Xinmin Evening News, Social Sciences in China Press, the Beijing Review, and the Economic Daily — were “substantially or effectively controlled by a foreign government.”
The State Department said that, over the past decade, and especially under the tenure of General Secretary Xi Jinping, “the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has asserted greater control over China’s state-backed propaganda outlets while trying to disguise them as independent news agencies.”
“While free media around the world are beholden to the truth, PRC (People’s Republic of China) media are beholden to the CCP,” said department spokesperson, Morgan Ortagus.
The decision does not put any restriction on what the organisations may publish in the United States, Mr Ortagus said. “It simply recognizes them for what they are- PRC-controlled propaganda outlets.”
“Our goal is to protect the freedom of the press in the United States, and ensure the American people know whether their news is coming from the free press or from a malign foreign government,” he added.
The total number of Chinese media outlets listed this way in 2020 has now risen to 15, after five in February and four in June.
Rules and regulations covering diplomatic missions are stricter than those for journalists.
In March, the US announced it was cutting the number of journalists allowed to work at US offices of major Chinese media outlets to 100 from 160.
In response, China expelled at least 13 American correspondents with the New York Times, News Corp’s Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.
Demanding China and the United States to “pull-back from this dangerous cycle of tit-for-tat retaliation,” the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) had asked the US to take the lead in the field of press freedom. “As democracy with a strong constitutional guarantee of freedom of the press, the U.S., in particular, must show leadership in the area of press freedom, rather than adopting Beijing’s authoritarian tactics,” the CPJ said in March.