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US tightens rules on Chinese state media amid propaganda concerns

EPA-EFE/JEROME FAVRE
People walk past the China's state-run agency Xinhua building after it was vandalised by protesters during a pro-democracy rally in Hong Kong, China, 02 November 2019. Hong Kong is in its fifth month of mass protests, which were originally triggered by a now withdrawn extradition bill, and have since turned into a wider pro-democracy movement.

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The United States has designated five Chinese state media organizations as foreign missions, amid propaganda concerns.
Chinese media were described by Washington as increasingly a tool of the state since President Xi Jinping took office in 2013. The outlets classified as foreign missions are the Xinhua news agency, the China Global Television Network, China Radio International, the distributors of the official People’s Daily and English-language China Daily.
The state department told the outlets that they will need to seek approval to buy any property, and will be required to submit lists of all employees. It added it would not impose restrictions on Chinese media’s journalistic activities inside the US.
“There is no dispute that all five of these entities are part of the party-state propaganda news apparatus and they take their orders directly from the top”, an official said, and added: “As you know, western journalists already suffer very severe restrictions on their ability to do their jobs inside the People’s Republic of China”.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry expressed strong dissatisfaction with and firm opposition to the rules. Geng Shuang, a spokesman from the ministry, called the new rules “unjustified and unacceptable”, and urged the US to abandon its Cold War mentality.
He added that as a response, China’s government revoked the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters, after it said the Journal refused to apologize for a “racially discriminatory” op-ed.
“The media play an important role as a bridge or bond facilitating communication and understanding between people of different countries”, Geng said.

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