US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday the United States has designated the US operations of six other media companies based in China as overseas missions. This move aims to drive back communist propaganda.
Pompeo told a State Department press conference that the US would enter into a dialogue on China with the European Union on Friday and a trip to India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Indonesia on Sunday.
He said he expected the meetings to include discussions on how “free nations can work together to thwart the threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party”.
The Foreign Ministry named the newly named publications Yicai Global, Jiefang Daily, Xinmin Evening News, Social Sciences in China Press, Beijing Review, and Economic Daily. This means that 15 Chinese media outlets have now been classified as overseas missions by the US authorities.
The designation requires the outlets to notify the State Department of their personnel registers and property holdings.
The move is the US’s latest move to curb Chinese activity in the United States in the run-up to the November 3 presidential election, in which President Donald Trump made a tough approach to China a key theme of his second term campaign.
Pompeo said the decision was part of an effort to crack down on “China’s communist propaganda efforts” in the US.
“They are also essentially owned or effectively controlled by a foreign government,” he said.
“We do not limit the publication of these points of sale in the United States. We just want to ensure that Americans and information consumers can distinguish between news from a free press and propaganda from the Chinese Communist Party itself. Not the same. “
China’s message did not come out immediately.
The editor-in-chief of the state-backed newspaper Global Times said in a tweet that the US had “gone too far” and that China would return the favor.
“As long as Chinese media are actually harmed, Beijing will definitely retaliate and US media activities in HK could be included on the retaliatory list,” said Hu Xijin.
The US has gone too far. The move will further poison the media working environment in the other country. As long as Chinese media are actually harmed, Beijing will definitely retaliate, and US media activities in HK could be included on the retaliatory list. pic.twitter.com/xTSDyRHpx6
– Hu Xijin @ 进 (@HuXijin_GT) October 21, 2020
As Trump, Pompeo and other officials stepped up criticism of China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the US government has also steadily increased pressure on Beijing’s interests in the US.
In addition to restricting state media, they have imposed sanctions on Chinese officials, companies and government agencies for their actions in Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.
Since the beginning of the year, the Trump administration has shut down the Chinese consulate in Houston, charged several Chinese citizens with espionage, severely restricted the travel of Chinese diplomats, restricted the number of Chinese journalists admitted to the US, and issued strict warnings on US academic and scientific Institutions about the alleged influence of the Confucius Institutes promoting educational and cultural connections.
The Confucius Institutes also had to register as official missions of a foreign government.
So far this year, the US has identified 15 Chinese media outlets as overseas missions. Before Wednesday, these were Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network (CGTN), China Radio International, China Daily Distribution Corporation, Hai Tian Development USA, China Central Television, China News Service, People’s Daily and the Global Times newspaper .
In response, China has expelled about a dozen US newspaper correspondents from the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.
Some media rights advocates, while accepting that Chinese corporations are obligated to the state, express discomfort at US measures, saying they are giving Beijing an excuse to shut journalists out of the valuable investigative work into human rights and the origins of COVID-19 have done.