Washington- Ramping up its measures against China's state-owned media outlets, the Donald Trump administration on Monday designated four major Chinese outlets as "foreign missions". The designation means the outlets will be treated as being akin to diplomatic missions and not media agencies.
The four outlets are China Central Television, China News Service, the People’s Daily and the Global Times. The Global Times, considered as being Beijing's mouthpiece for a global audience, had come into focus in India over the past month for its shrill rhetoric on the Ladakh standoff. The Global Times had published multiple articles in recent weeks highlighting new Chinese weaponry, detailing military exercises and even warning India of humiliation in a conflict.
The action against the Global Times and the three outlets means that they will be required "to submit a list of everyone who works for them in the US and any real estate holdings", Associated Press reported. While no journalist of these outlets has been asked to leave the US, a similar action against five Chinese outlets in February saw a cap being placed on the number of staff that the outlets could have in the US.
The US reduced the number of journalists allowed for the five outlets to 100 from around 160. Those five outlets were Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily Distribution Corporation and Hai Tian Development USA. Following the US move in February, China responded by expelling reporters of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and Washington Post.
"State Department officials said the four organisations are essentially mouthpieces for the Chinese Communist Party and the government and should not be treated like ordinary foreign media," Associated Press reported.
In its notification of the move on Monday, the US State Department said, "These nine entities all meet the definition of a foreign mission under the Foreign Missions Act, which is to say that they are 'substantially owned or effectively controlled' by a foreign government. In this case, they are effectively controlled by the government of the People’s Republic of China.”
“The decision to designate these entities is not based on any content produced by these entities, nor does it place any restrictions on what the designated entities may publish in the United States. It simply recognises them for what they are. Entities designated as foreign missions must adhere to certain administrative requirements that also apply to foreign embassies and consulates in the United States."
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