The State Department on Wednesday placed restrictions on additional Chinese state media outlets in the U.S., increasing its list of media treated as foreign government missions.
Five additional outlets were designated under the Foreign Missions Act as Chinese government entities, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement. Ms. Ortagus said the actions reflected a decade-long trend under Chinese President Xi Jinping to exercisegreater control over state-backed propaganda disguised as independent news agencies.
Mr. Xi “himself has stated, ‘Party-owned media must embody the party’s will, safeguard the party’s authority. … Their actions must be highly consistent with the party,’” she noted.
“While free media around the world are beholden to the truth, PRC media are beholden to the [Chinese Communist Party]. Today, the United States is publicly recognizing that reality through these designations,” Ms. Ortagus said.
The action is part of Trump administration policies aimed at reducing China’s government-backed influence operations in the United States. China’s government conducts aggressive efforts to influence policy and popular opinion in the United States, including lobbying government officials, hiring former U.S. officials and spreading propaganda.
The restrictions do not prohibit the outlets from publishing in the United States, but are intended to highlight the state-backed propaganda nature of the media.
The Chinese media outlets were identified as Yicai Global, Jiefang Daily, Xinmin Evening News, Social Sciences in China Press, Beijing Review, and Economic Daily. The organs are owned by the Chinese government and thus fall under the 1982 Foreign Missions Act, which was enacted to target efforts by the then-Soviet Union to restrict American diplomats.
China severely restricts U.S. news media and earlier this year expelled a number of U.S. journalists in retaliation for new Trump administration restrictions on Chinese outlets.
In February, the State Department designated China’s major Party-controlled outlets as foreign missions, including Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily Distribution Corporation and Hai Tian Development USA. In June, China Central Television, China News Service, the People’s Daily, and the Global Times, were added to the list.
The designations limit the number of people the outlets can employ, and restrict travel and real estate purchases.
“Our goal is to protect the freedom of press in the United States, and ensure the American people know whether their news is coming from the free press or from a malign foreign government,” Ms. Ortagus said. “Transparency isn’t threatening to those who value truth.”