Sat | Nov 28, 2020

China retaliates against news media in latest feud with US

Published:Tuesday | October 27, 2020 | 12:12 AM


China has ordered six United States-based news media to file detailed information about their operations in China, the latest volley in a monthslong battle with the Trump administration.

A foreign ministry statement issued late Monday demanded that the bureaus of ABC, The Los Angeles Times, Minnesota Public Radio, the Bureau of National Affairs, Newsweek, and Feature Story News declare information about their staff, finances, operations, and real estate in China within seven days.

The announcement came five days after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said six Chinese media would have to register as foreign missions, which requires them to file similar information with the US government.

The six were the third group of Chinese media required to do so this year. Each time, China has responded by forcing a similar number of US media to file about their operations.

The ministry statement said that China was compelled to take the step “in response to the unreasonable oppression the Chinese media organisations experience in the United States”.

Pompeo, in making his announcement, said that the targeted Chinese media are state-owned or controlled and that the US wants to ensure that “consumers of information can differentiate between news written by a free press and propaganda distributed by the Chinese Communist Party”.

The media is one of several areas of growing tension between the two countries as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on China over trade, technology, defence, and human rights.

The US ordered the closing of the Chinese consulate in Houston earlier this year, and China responded by shuttering the US consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu.