Beijing on Monday gave six US media outlets a week to report on their operations in China. The move comes as Washington announced plans to designate the US arms of six more China-based media companies as foreign missions.
The Foreign Ministry in Beijing demanded that the US media outlets “declare in written form information about their staff, finance, operation and real estate in China within seven calendar days.” The move concerns the China-based branches of the American Broadcasting Corporation, the Los Angeles Times, Minnesota Public Radio, Bureau of National Affairs, Newsweek, and Feature Story News, spokesperson Zhao Lijian told reporters on Monday.
China is compelled to take “entirely necessary and reciprocal countermeasures” in response to “the unreasonable oppression” the Chinese media organizations experience in the US, Zhao said. “They are legitimate and justified self-defense in every sense.”
The US government has in recent years placed unwarranted restrictions on Chinese media agencies and personnel in the US, making things difficult for their normal reporting assignments, the spokesperson noted.
After Washington decided to designate six more Chinese media outlets as foreign missions, China last week made its position clear, Zhao said. Beijing wants the US to change course, undo the damage and revoke the decision “driven by the Cold War mentality.” But the US side “insistently ramped up political repression and stigmatization of Chinese media agencies and personnel,” thus exposing “the hypocrisy of the self-styled advocate of press freedom,” he said.
Washington should “stop its political oppression and arbitrary restrictions on Chinese media organizations,” Zhao said, adding that otherwise it can expect more countermeasures from China.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that the labeling of six China-based media outlets in the US as foreign missions would help to curtail Chinese “propaganda.” The media organizations will have to identify its employees to the US government.
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