On Tuesday, February 18, 2020, the Trump administration intensified its rules on five major Chinese state-run media that are currently working in the US. Two senior US department officials stated that Washington imposed new rules for the Chinese media in a view to understand how these media were working for propagating pro-Beijing agendas. Chinese media now have to show their workforce by registering their employees as well as their US properties with the State Department.
The new Washington policy, which targeted the Chinese media, will affect the Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily Distribution Corp., and Hai Tian Development USA, Inc. According to senior officials, these media platforms would be treated the same as foreign embassies that require to follow the official process of registration.
The officials claimed that Tuesday’s decision had nothing to do with the recent development of uneasiness in Sino-US relations and Washington has been considering it for years. The latest rules on media were announced, as the two officials explained, due to the tightening control of media by the Chinese government and its President, Xi Jinping’s aggressive efforts to media to spread pro-Beijing propaganda.
One official, who refused to disclose the identity, said, “The control over both the content and editorial control have only strengthened over the course of Xi Jinping’s term in power. These guys are in fact arms of the CCP’s (Chinese Community Party’s) propaganda apparatus.”
The second official claimed that Beijing’s control of these state-owned media become “more and more draconian,” in their nature of publicity. Reuters reported, at present “China Daily is an English-language newspaper published by the Chinese Communist Party. Hai Tian Development USA distributes the People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the party’s Central Committee.”
US’ New Rules on Chinese Media
The new uneasy relationship between Washington and Beijing have escalated because of the economic and political disputes ranging from trade tariffs to accusations of Chinese spying in the United States and to U.S. support for Taiwan. Trump, after coming to power in 2016, have been constantly targeting China and vehemently criticized Beijing for many issues.
Following Washington’s new regulations against Beijing media entities, the US State Department has sent a notice letter to all five Chinese media units operating in the US. Meanwhile, there was no reply from the Chinese embassy when Reuters approached.
The officials claimed that the five entities were required to disclose their personnel rosters including hiring or removing their employees and register their properties with the State Department under the new rules. They added that these media houses needed to seek the US government’s approval before they lease or purchase new US property.
One official replied to a question that the disclosures of these media hoses would help the State Department to understand better how the entities operate in the US. Responding to a question if Beijing retaliates against Western media based in China, one official commented that the foreign news outlets had already worked under strict rules in China and asserted that the new disclosure rules had imposed no restrictions on these state-owned Chinese entities’ US operations.
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