US 'political oppression' of Chinese media criticized

China's government on Thursday demanded the United States stop "political oppression" of Chinese media after more were ordered to register as foreign missions.

China’s government on Thursday demanded the United States stop “political oppression” of Chinese media after more were ordered to register as foreign missions.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the previous day that the State Department was designating the US operations of six more China-based media companies as foreign missions, a move he said aimed at countering “communist propaganda.”

The latest measures apply to Yicai Global, Jiefang Daily, Xinmin Evening News, Social Sciences in China Press, Beijing Review, and Economic Daily, raising the total number of outlets affected to 15.

“China firmly opposes and strongly condemns unreasonable US actions,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said. “China urges the United States to change course, correct its mistakes and stop the political oppression and unreasonable restrictions on Chinese media.”

Zhao said the US made the decision out of Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice. “They severely undermine Chinese media’s reputation and image, severely impact Chinese media’s normal functioning in the United States, and severely disrupt cultural and people-to-people exchange between the two countries.”

“China will make a legitimate and necessary response,” Zhao added

It was the third round of US designations of Chinese outlets as “foreign missions,” which requires them to report details on their US-based staff and real estate transactions to the State Department.

Poison working environment

Controls announced earlier affect the Xinhua news agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily Distribution Corp, Hai Tian Development USA, China Central Television, China News Service, the People’s Daily and the Global Times.

Earlier, the Trump administration cut the number of journalists allowed to work at US offices of major Chinese media to 100 from 160 and put them on 90-day visas. China responded by demanding US journalists working with The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post to hand back their press cards.

“The US has gone too far,” Editor-in-Chief of Global Times Hu Xijin tweeted after the US announcement. “The move will further poison working environment of media outlets in each other’s country. As long as Chinese media outlets suffer actual harm, Beijing will definitely retaliate, and US media outlets’ operation in the HK could be included in retaliation list,” he said.

Spokesperson Zhao went further by criticizing the gross interference the US authorities did on press freedom in recent years. According to him, 223 journalists have been attacked, 73 journalists were arrested this year, and there were 28 incidents of journalists being rejected to take part in the public events held by the US governments in 2019.

Considering the US government’s wanton interference in domestic and foreign journalists’ reporting, the United States itself is the perpetrator that blatantly suppresses media and restricts press freedom, he said.

“Its self-proclaimed image of a ‘beacon’ exists in name only,” Zhao said.

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