ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon Twitter
International relations

US designates four major Chinese media outlets as foreign missions

The move is likely to further sour already fraught ties between the two nations

The designation will affect China Central Television, the China News Service, the People's Daily and the Global Times.    © AP

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The United States said on Monday it will start treating four major Chinese media outlets as foreign embassies, alleging they are mouthpieces for Beijing, in a move that is likely to further sour already fraught ties between the world's top two economies.

David Stilwell, the senior U.S. diplomat for East Asia, told reporters the designation would affect China Central Television, the China News Service, the People's Daily and the Global Times, and reflected their real status as "propaganda outlets" under the control of the Chinese Communist Party.

"The Communist Party does not just exercise operational control over these propaganda entities, but it has full editorial control over their content," Stilwell said in a teleconference with reporters.

China's embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Plans for the new media outlet designations were first reported by Reuters earlier this month.

U.S.-China relations are at their lowest ebb in years as President Donald Trump takes a tough line on China ahead of his Nov. 3 re-election bid. The world's top two economies are also at loggerheads over the handling of the coronavirus pandemic and China's increasing encroachment into Hong Kong.

In February the State Department declared five other Chinese outlets as foreign embassies, a designation that requires the outlets to inform the U.S. State Department of their personnel rosters and real-estate holdings.

In March, Washington also said it was slashing the number of journalists allowed to work at U.S. offices of major Chinese media outlets to 100 from 160 due to Beijing's "long-standing intimidation and harassment of journalists."

In response, China expelled about a dozen American correspondents with the New York Times, News Corp's Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

Stilwell said Monday's action was not intended to reduce journalistic activity by foreign media outlets and that the United States remained committed to press freedom.

During the briefing, Stilwell and State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus declined to take a question from Reuters on how U.S. allies in Asia had reacted to a memoir by Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton, saying it was not the intended subject of the briefing.

Ortagus asked that a Reuters reporter's line be muted when he again pursued the question on Bolton.

In response to a follow-up question, Stilwell said he was too busy to pay attention to the book.

The book, excerpts of which have already been widely circulated, says Trump solicited President Xi Jinping's help to win re-election and details meetings between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, including how their second summit in Vietnam fell apart.

Trump has said Bolton is disgruntled and a liar. 

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 1 month for $0.99

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends January 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to Nikkei Asia has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media

Nikkei Asian Review, now known as Nikkei Asia, will be the voice of the Asian Century.

Celebrate our next chapter
Free access for everyone - Sep. 30

Find out more