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US tightens rules on four more Chinese state media “propaganda outlets”

The State Department said it was reclassifying four outlets — China Central Television, the China News Service, the People’s Daily and the Global Times — as foreign missions rather than media outlets in the United States, adding to five others designated in February.

All nine outlets “are effectively controlled by the government of the People’s Republic of China,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.

The state-run news organizations will be required to report details on their US-based staff and real estate transactions to the State Department. Their reporting will not be restricted, officials said.

“These four entities are not media outlets; they are propaganda outlets,” David Stilwell, the top US diplomat for East Asia, told reporters. He declined to say if the four outlets would be asked to reduce their US-based staff — action taken against the five organizations that were earlier designated.

The announcement was further evidence that a closed-door meeting last week in Hawaii between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior Chinese official Yang Jiechi did little to ease tensions. Pompeo said later that he considered China a “rogue” player and said he was “very frank” in expressing concerns to Yang including over Beijing’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and its proposed security law in Hong Kong.

The state news outlets earlier designated as foreign missions were the Xinhua news agency, the China Global Television Network, China Radio International and the US distributors of the People’s Daily and English-language China Daily. After the outlets were ordered to cut by nearly half the Chinese nationals working for them in United States, Beijing hit back by expelling US citizens working for three major newspapers — The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post.

Beijing said at the time it was taking reciprocal action against the “oppression” of its reporters.

But State Department officials note that US media are free to report critically of the government while Chinese state-run outlets report to the government.

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