The United States said on Monday it will start treating four major Chinese media outlets as foreign embassies, alleging they are mouthpieces for Beijing.
David Stilwell, the senior U.S. diplomat for East Asia, told reporters the designation would affect China Central Television, the China News Service, the People’s Daily and the Global Times, and reflected their real status as “propaganda outlets” under the control of the Chinese Communist Party, reported Reuters.
“The Communist Party does not just exercise operational control over these propaganda entities, but it has full editorial control over their content,” Stilwell said in a teleconference with reporters.
“We strongly urge the U.S. to discard the Cold War mentality, and ideological bias, and immediately stop and correct these damaging and harmful actions,” spokesman Zhao Lijian said. “Or else China must respond with a fitting response.”
“This is a very absurd decision,” Global Times editor-in-Chief Hu Xijin said on Twitter. “China-US relation is so tense that market-oriented media like the Global Times has been affected. It is regrettable.”
The Global Times is a subsidiary of the People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the ruling Communist Party.
In March, the US had decided to slash the number of journalists from China who work at U.S. offices of major Chinese media outlets to 100 from 160 due to Beijing’s “long-standing intimidation and harassment of journalists.”
In response, China expelled about a dozen American correspondents with the New York Times, News Corp’s Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. (With inputs from Reuters & CNN)