The U.S. will designate four Chinese state media outlets as foreign embassies in addition to five such outlets that have already been placed under restrictions, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
The State Department could announce the designation as early as Thursday. China Central Television (CCTV) and China News Service are expected to be among the outlets listed by the department. The designation would apply certain restrictions to those outlets’ operations on U.S. soil, mandating they register employees and property with the State Department.
The Trump administration in February placed the same restrictions on five other Chinese state media organizations including the Xinhua News Agency and the China Global Television Network. In March, the administration ordered those five outlets to reduce personnel stationed in the U.S. by 40 percent, after China expelled three Wall Street Journal reporters. China subsequently moved to revoke press credentials for additional reporters from the Journal, the New York Times, and the Washington Post.
On May 18, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned China against interfering with the work of American journalists in then-semi-autonomous Hong Kong.
“It has recently come to my attention that the Chinese government has threatened to interfere with the work of American journalists in Hong Kong. These journalists are members of a free press, not propaganda cadres, and their valuable reporting informs Chinese citizens and the world,” Pompeo said in a statement at the time.
However, China has since moved to apply new laws to the territory that Hong Kong pro-democracy legislators have warned will end the territory’s autonomy and relative freedom. Pompeo told Congress last week that the city of Hong Kong is effectively no longer autonomous, and President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. would revoke Hong Kong’s special trading status.