BEIJING—China‘s foreign ministry has ordered six U.S. media outlets to report back on their operations in the country within seven days, after Washington said it was designating the U.S. arms of six more China-based media firms as foreign missions.
The U.S. media outlets affected are the American Broadcasting Corp. (ABC), the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Feature Story News, the Bureau of National Affairs, and Minnesota Public Radio, according to a statement from China‘s Ministry of Foreign Affairs late on Oct. 26.
Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian threatened last week that Beijing would respond to the U.S. action, which was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and followed an initial crackdown on Chinese media outlets in the United States in March.
The State Department said the six Chinese outlets—Yicai Global, Jiefang Daily, Xinmin Evening News, Social Sciences in China Press, Beijing Review, and Economic Daily—are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by the Chinese regime.
The “foreign missions” designation means they’ll be treated as foreign embassies or other diplomatic missions, and will be required to register their employees and U.S. properties with the State Department.
Beijing’s latest move has further soured Sino–U.S. ties, which have sunk to their lowest point in decades as disputes rage over issues from trade and technology to human rights and the coronavirus.
The United States, “in total disregard of China‘s legitimate and reasonable demand and solemn warning, insistently ramped up political repression and stigmatization of Chinese media agencies and personnel,” Zhao said in the statement.
The Chinese regime will now request information on staff, finances, operations, and real estate of the six U.S. media outlets, Zhao added. He also threatened “more countermeasures” should the United States place more restrictions on Chinese media outlets.