By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 22: The US announced Wednesday that six more Chinese media outlets functioning in the US have been designated as foreign missions. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo remarked that the move was aimed at pushing back communist propaganda in the country and show that “free nations can work together to thwart threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party”.
The firms are required to register under the Foreign Missions Act that place them under the same constrains as embassies and diplomatic outposts. The firms are also required to inform the State Department of their personnel rosters and property holdings in the US. The current batch of media outlets include Yicai Global, Jiefang Daily, Xinmin Evening News, Social Sciences in China Press, Beijing Review and Economic Daily.
Secretary Pompeo at the US State Department press conference said, “They are all substantially owned or controlled by a foreign government . . . We’re not placing any restrictions on what these outlets can publish in the United States. We simply want to ensure that American people, consumers of information, can differentiate between news written by a free press and propaganda distributed by the Chinese Communist Party itself. They are not the same thing.”
The editor-in-chief of the Chinese state-backed Global Times newspaper, Hu Xijin, responded through Twitter by saying that China will retaliate, “The US has gone too far. 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 HK could be included in retaliation list.”
Since the beginning of 2020, the US government designated several Chinese media outlets including prominent outlets like the Xinhua News Agency, CGTV, the People’s Daily, and the Global Times newspaper. In March China retaliated by expelling a dozen of journalists working with the US-based New York Times, Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.