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State Dept. Classifies Additional Chinese Media Outlets as Foreign Agents

Morning commuters walk in front of the China Central Television (CCTV) building, Beijing, China, December 2, 2015. (Damir Sagolj/Reuters)

Four more Chinese media outlets with operations in the U.S. are being labeled as “foreign missions” to highlight their close ties to the Chinese Communist Party, the U.S. State Department announced Monday.

China Central Television, China News Service, People’s Daily, and the Global Times are all joining the list of designated foreign actors, State Department spokesperson Megan Ortagus said in a press release. The announcement comes after five other Chinese media conglomerates were designated as foreign missions in February.

“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 United States,” Ortagus said. “It simply recognizes them for what they are.”

The distinction does limit the number of visas distributed to the outlets, as “foreign missions must adhere to certain administrative requirements that also apply to foreign embassies and consulates in the United States.”

After the State Department’s decision to first implement the new rules in February, China retaliated by stripping the press passes of American reporters at the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post.

“In recent years, the U.S. government has placed unwarranted restrictions on Chinese media agencies and personnel in the U.S., purposely made things difficult for their normal reporting assignments, and subjected them to growing discrimination and politically-motivated oppression,” a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said.

Last month, the U.S. also cut the length of “I visas” for Chinese journalists, regardless of their affiliation, from indefinite to three months, with the option to apply for extension.

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