The US's latest restrictions on Chinese media that saw the listing of four more Chinese media outlets as foreign missions exposed its declining confidence and increasing fear of China, after the media's objective reports on China's effective fight against COVID-19 showed a stark contrast to US failures. Chinese experts said China would take reciprocal measures by limiting US media and implementing countermeasures.
(File photo: VCG)
The US State Department said it was listing four more outlets - China Central Television, China News Service, People's Daily and Global Times - as foreign missions rather than media outlets in the US, bringing the total number of Chinese media designated as "foreign missions" to nine.
The Monday restriction came after China's top diplomat met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Hawaii last week, with high expectations that the two countries would ease tensions. However, the US continued to play its cards against China, expanding the previous anti-China strategies from politics to media, causing concerns from both sides over the bleak ties, experts said.
This is the second group of Chinese media outlets the US has listed as foreign missions. It's another example of US political suppression of Chinese media and will further severely infringe on Chinese media's reporting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a press briefing on Thursday.
Zhao urged the US to abandon its Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice, and immediately correct its wrong practices, otherwise China will have to make the necessary legitimate response.
Spokesperson of China's Foreign Ministry Zhao Lijian speaks at a daily press briefing on February 27, 2020. (Photo: China's Foreign Ministry)
The US' fear of China is increasing, especially after Chinese media, which has acted according to professional and international standards, brought details of China's effective fight against the COVID-19 domestically to the US, Lü Xiang, a research fellow on US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing, told the Global Times.
Experts said that China successfully bringing the COVID-19 under control makes a contrast to the incompetence of the US government and is unfavorable to the Republican Party's race for the election.
Restricting information from Chinese media shows the decline of the US, which would not have taken such measures if it had confidence in itself. US politicians fear that Chinese media's reports on China's governing will stand in sharp contrast to the US' failures in coping with the pandemic, he noted.
Restricting information in the US is their aim, and it seems to be succeeding for now, as many Americans still think the US has done a better job than China in preventing COVID-19, Lü said, noting that China-US ties are full of huge uncertainty. "If we say Donald Trump is playing chess for the current situation, he is acting like throwing all chess pieces on the board."
All nine Chinese media outlets will be asked to submit a complete roster of employees in the US and a list of their real estate holdings.
Peng Cenxuan, an expert on international law from Wuhan University, told the Global Times that the US State Department claims the move is in accordance with the Foreign Missions Acts, which defines foreign missions as organs or entities that are owned or controlled by foreign governments or organs. Once an institution is designated as a foreign mission, all of its rights will be at the mercy of US administrative departments.
Listing Chinese media outlets as foreign missions actually puts them under the full supervision of US administrative departments and takes away rights that they are entitled to under domestic and international law. This is a political move under the disguise of law, Peng said.
After the US listed the Global Times as a foreign mission, Hu Xijin, the editor-in-chief of the Global Times, said on his Twitter account Tuesday, "This is a very absurd decision. China-US relations are so tense that market-oriented media like the Global Times have been affected. It is regrettable. The US is losing self-confidence and inclusiveness. The country is chaotic."
The latest move also shows the US is on high alert against China, and its bashing of China has been comprehensive - from politics and trade to high-tech and media. The bashing of Chinese media is sends a signal that the US government will continue with its tough policy against China, Xin Qiang, deputy director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Tuesday.
Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times that by making this move, the US is cutting off channels for Chinese people to comprehensively understand US society and culture, and it brings no good to the mutual understanding between the two peoples.
He noted that listing Chinese media outlets as foreign missions also exposes the US' double standards on the so-called "freedom of speech," and one of its strategies against China is smearing the Chinese political system in the international community.
Xin Qiang said that China will definitely not keep silent over the latest US move and may implement reciprocal measures by placing further limits on US media and reporters, adding that the US started this vicious circle.
Experts reached by the Global Times said that China should add US media and journalists onto a list and limit their activities in China.
In response to the US designation of five Chinese media agencies as "foreign missions," China demanded, in the spirit of reciprocity, that the China-based branches of Voice of America, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Time declare in written form information about their staff, finances, operations and real estate in China, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a public statement in March.
It also asked American journalists for three news organizations whose press credentials were due to expire this year to hand back their press cards within 10 calendar days
Peng said China can make countermeasures and regulate US media's activities in accordance with the laws on overseas nongovernmental organizations.
Foreign media has long been criticized for playing a shameful role in reporting months' long riots in Hong Kong since last year - giving rolling coverages on so-called local police excessive law enforcement but failing to mention brutality of riots. Some reporters even played as human shield by standing in front of rioters when they confront with Hong Kong police officers, which severely violated law enforcements process and brought social disturbance.
Aside from bashing Chinese media, Li warned that considering the US government's recent moves, it is possible that the Trump administration may continue to take measures targeting China, and that the US' politicizing of the media will further strain bilateral ties.