The US State Department on Monday designated four more Chinese news organizations as foreign missions. The move signals a downturn in the US-Chinese relationship and raises the total to nine organizations that have received that label from the State Department this year.
In a press release from the State Department’s spokesperson Morgan Ortagus, the department recognizes that “the CCP has reorganized China’s state propaganda outlets disguised as news agencies and asserted even more direct control over them.” In reaction to that transition, the State Department first identified five agencies on February 18 as foreign missions. The previous five agencies identified were the Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily Distribution Corporation and Hai Tian Development USA.
The foreign mission label derives from the Foreign Missions Act and is used to label organizations that are “substantially owned or effectively controlled” by a foreign government. Monday’s ruling added “China Central Television, China News Service, the People’s Daily, and the Global Times” to the list of organizations labeled as foreign missions.
The “decision to designate these entities is not based on any content produced by these entities, nor does it place any restrictions on what the designated entities may publish in the US.” Instead, the label serves to recognize their status as political tools and to require those organizations to “adhere to certain administrative requirements that also apply to foreign embassies and consulates in the United States.” Those requirements include a stipulation that the organizations provide complete lists of their employees working in the US.
China has not commented on the expansion of the list. However, there are expectations that the new additions will prompt a harsh response from the Chinese government, which was already outraged by the initial additions in February.