United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday that six Chinese newspapers and media outlets would require to register as foreign missions in America. The announcement also requires these outlets to identify their employees. Similar measures had earlier been imposed on nine Chinese outlets.
The six outlets are Yicai Global, Jiefang Daily, Xinmin Evening News, Social Sciences in China Press, Beijing Review and Economic Daily, CNN reported.
The Donald Trump-led administration has indicated that it may refuse visas to employees of some of these outlets, prompting Beijing to say it might withhold visas for the few remaining American reporters in China. Earlier this year, Beijing had expelled journalists from The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal from the country.
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian called the US steps “political oppression”. He said that China “firmly opposes and strongly condemns” the “unreasonable” US actions. Zhao said the United States should change course, correct its mistakes and stop the unreasonable restrictions it has placed on Chinese media. However, Zhao did not indicate whether Beijing will take retaliatory action.
But Chinese state-run Global Times Editor-in-Chief Hu Xijin indicated that there will be repercussions. “As long as Chinese media outlets suffer actual harm, Beijing will definitely retaliate,” Hu said. He added that US media operations in Hong Kong could be included on a “retaliation list.”
Once a media company is labeled as a foreign entity in the United States, it is required to submit to the same rules and regulations that a foreign mission does, which are much stricter than those enforced for journalists under no such restrictions. These media outlets will, apart from providing details of their employees, have to get federal government approval to lease or buy office space.