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China hits back at US with new media restrictions as tensions rise

China has hit back at what it calls Washington’s “suppression of Chinese media” by demanding that four US news organizations declare details of their finances and staffing in the country.

The Associated Press, United Press International, CBS News and NPR News must submit relevant paperwork to the Chinese government within seven days, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Wednesday at a regular press briefing.

“China is compelled to take these measures to counter the US’ unreasonable suppression of Chinese media in the US,” Zhao said. “They are entirely self-defense.”

Beijing’s response comes after the Trump administration labeled the US offices of four Chinese state-run media as “foreign missions” last week, requiring them to file paperwork with the US authorities on their finances and personnel. Washington added CCTV, People’s Daily, Global Times and China News Service to a list of designated media that already included Xinhua, CCTV subsidiary China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily and People’s Daily parent Hai Tian Development USA.

David Stilwell, the State Department’s assistant secretary for east Asia and Pacific affairs has said the Chinese outlets were given the designation because the US administration views them as propaganda outlets “effectively controlled by the Chinese Communist Party” rather than independent news organizations.

Zhao said on Wednesday that “the US measures are based on Cold War mentality and ideological prejudices.”

“They have severely harmed Chinese media’s reputation and image, and seriously disrupted their normal operations in the US,” he added.

A spokesperson for the Associated Press told CNN Business the agency is “seeking more information about the requirements announced today and will review them carefully.” Representatives for CBS, NPR and United Press International did not immediately return requests for comment.

Beijing’s announcement of the new conditions on US media came just hours after China imposed a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong that critics say has stripped the city of its autonomy and certain freedoms and that will directly affect how media operates there.

The Trump administration and the Beijing government have been engaged in several rounds of tit-for-tat targeting of each other’s media outlets.

Earlier this year, Beijing expelled journalists from several major US news organizations, including the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, after the US capped the number of Chinese journalists allowed to work in the US offices of China’s state-run media.

— Angus Watson in Sydney contributed to this article.

CNN

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