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US labels 4 Chinese news outlets as 'foreign missions'

US labels 4 Chinese news outlets as 'foreign missions'
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The U.S. is designating four Chinese media outlets as "foreign missions," Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo imposes visa restrictions on Chinese officials over 'intimidation' tactics Israel's new Gulf relations give Biden's team a new Middle East hub Pompeo knocks Turkey in NATO speech: report MORE announced Monday, accusing the Beijing-backed news organizations of promoting propaganda.

“In order to ensure greater transparency of CCP-run operations in the United States, I directed the designation of four additional PRC propaganda outlets as foreign missions,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter. 

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the designations apply to China Central Television, China News Service, the People’s Daily and the Global Times.

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“Over the past decade and particularly under General Secretary Xi Jinping’s tenure, the [Chinese Communist Party] has reorganized China’s state propaganda outlets disguised as news agencies and asserted even more direct control over them,” she said in a statement.

Beijing responded to the latest declarations by revoking accreditation for American correspondents with The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, whose credentials expire by the end of 2020, Reuters reported

The new designations are in addition to five other Chinese news outlets the U.S. labeled as foreign missions in February: Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily Distribution Corp. and Hai Tian Development USA.

The designations require the outlets to notify the State Department about its current personnel in the U.S., including basic information about the individuals, and its property holdings, a senior State Department official said in a briefing with reporters in February.

In March, the State Department announced it will cap the number of citizens of the People’s Republic of China working for the five media outlets to 100. There were about 160 Chinese citizens working at the news outlets at the time.

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It’s unclear if the outlets have yet come into compliance with the State Department’s orders and if the cap on workers will apply to the new designated media outlets. 

A State Department spokesperson told The Hill a cap on personnel for the newly designated organizations are not being applied at this time.

"However, we reserve the right to take further action in the future,” the spokesperson said. 

The U.S. designations are likely to further strain relations between the U.S. and China, which are already tense due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Beijing’s moves to impose more authority over Hong Kong and efforts to preserve the phase one trade deal between the two countries.

Pompeo has also been outspoken about allies rejecting Chinese companies bids on infrastructure projects, saying in a recent speech to a European conference, “Every investment from a Chinese state-owned enterprise should be viewed with suspicion.”

Yet the U.S. and China have sought to improve communication, with Pompeo participating in a rare face-to-face meeting last week with a top Communist Party official in Hawaii.