The United States said on Monday it will start treating four major Chinese media outlets as foreign embassies, alleging they are mouthpieces for Beijing, in a move that is likely to further sour already fraught ties between the world’s top two economies.
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.
“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.
China’s foreign ministry criticised Washington’s actions during a daily briefing in Beijing on Tuesday, calling them further proof of U.S. political oppression of the Chinese media.
“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.”
Zhao did not elaborate on potential countermeasures.