Washington levels playing field in media war . . .
In a major escalation of a media war between China and the United States, President Trump announced on Monday a new set of restrictions that will reduce the size of five Chinese media organizations in the U.S. The affected organizations are Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Daily, China Radio International, and People’s International. The five media outlets combined must reduce their staff from 160 people to 100, meaning 60 Chinese journalists will need to leave when the new policy takes effect on March 13. According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the new policies are aimed at upholding “reciprocity” in the U.S.-China relationship and will encourage a “long-overdue level playing field.”
China’s rebuttal . . .
In response, China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian said the new restrictions are “based on the Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice.” The latest U.S. announcement comes after Washington’s decision last month to classify five Chinese news organizations as foreign missions, meaning they must provide to the State Department the names and personal details of all employees, information on staff turnover, and information on leased or owned property. China responded by expelling three Beijing-based Wall Street Journal reporters, condemning them for a supposedly racist opinion piece that criticized China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.
New report highlights Chinese media restrictions . . .
Amid the U.S.-China media war, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China released on Monday its latest media freedom report, Control, Halt, Delete: Reporting in China Under Threat of Expulsion, which highlights Beijing’s power to suppress factual reporting. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has called the report “inappropriate” and “unwise.” We expect to see further action from China as a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman wrote on Twitter earlier this week, “Now the U.S. has kicked off the game, let’s play.”
- Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China: “Control, Halt, Delete: Reporting in China Under Threat of Expulsion,” an in-depth examination of media freedoms in China in 2019
- U.S. Department of State: Institution of a personnel cap on designated PRC state media entities
- The Washington Post: Chinese official to U.S. after limits put on its journalists: ‘Let’s play’