China takes measures against 4 US news entities


PTI, Jul 1, 2020, 5:40 PM IST

Beijing: China has demanded staff and business information from four US media companies including The Associated Press in what it called a necessary response to similar demands by Washington on Chinese state-controlled news outlets.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian announced Wednesday that AP, United Press International, CBS and National Public Radio had seven days to file declarations regarding their staff, financial operations, real estate ownership and other matters.

“It should be pointed out that the above-mentioned measures by China are completely necessary countermeasures and are completely legitimate defences compelled by unreasonable suppression of the US side on Chinese media agencies in the United States,” Zhao said at a daily briefing.

The Trump administration last month added four Chinese media outlets to a list of organizations that should be considered “foreign missions” because of their ties to the government and the ruling Communist Party. That move could force them to cut staff in the US and adds to a long list of frictions in economic and political relations between the two countries.

Zhao said recent US policies damage the reputation and image of Chinese media, impact their operations and “seriously interfere with the normal people-to-people exchanges between China and the US.”

The Trump administration’s moves are rooted in “Cold War thinking” and go against the freedom of the press long espoused by Washington, he said.

“China urges the US to immediately change its course and correct its mistakes and stop the political suppression and unreasonable restrictions of the Chinese media,” Zhao said.

State Department officials said at the time that the four organizations, including state-run CCTV, would be required to submit a list of everyone who works for them in the US and any real estate holdings, the same as is required of foreign embassies or consulates. None is being ordered to leave the US and no limits on their activities were announced. But a visa cap was put on five other Chinese media organizations in March, forcing them to reduce their Chinese staff two weeks after they were designated as foreign missions.

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