China gives six US media outlets a week to report on operations

Chinese and US flags flutter near The Bund, in Shanghai, China. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China's foreign ministry has ordered six US media outlets to report back on their operations in the country within seven days, after Washington said it was designating the US arms of six more China-based media firms as foreign missions.

The US media firms affected are the American Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Feature Story News, the Bureau of National Affairs and Minnesota Public Radio, according to a statement from China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs late on Monday (Oct 26).

Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian vowed last week Beijing would respond to the US action, which was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and followed an initial crackdown on Chinese media outlets in the United States in March.

The move further soured Sino-US ties, which have sunk to their lowest point in decades as disputes rage over issues from trade and technology to human rights and the coronavirus.

The United States, "in total disregard of China's legitimate and reasonable demand and solemn warning, insistently ramped up political repression and stigmatisation of Chinese media agencies and personnel," Mr Zhao said in the statement.

"In response, China demands that the China-based branches of (the six US media firms) declare in written form information about their staff, finance, operation and real estate in China within seven calendar days from today," he added.

"China urges the United States to...stop its political oppression and arbitrary restrictions on Chinese media organisations. Should it choose to go further down the wrong path, it could expect more countermeasures from China."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.