The US plans to cap the number of personnel who can work at Chinese government-backed "propaganda" news outlets in the US, reported The Wall Street Journal, citing a senior Trump administration official on Monday afternoon.
The retaliatory move comes after China expelled nine foreign reporters since 2013, and three last month over their reporting of the virus outbreak.
Today, we announced a personnel cap on Chinese government-controlled media organizations in the United States. We urge Beijing to respect freedom of expression and will continue to seek reciprocity across the bilateral relationship.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) March 2, 2020
The senior official said caps on Chinese media outlets operating in the US could be reduced to 100, from 160. The five news outlets the US government will limit are Xinhua, CGTN, China Radio, China Daily, and The People's Daily – all must comply with the new limits by March 13.
Chinese state media outlets have freely operated in the US for years, and it now appears the Trump administration wants to restrict their reporting.
Trump officials are declaring the media outlets are not practitioners of journalism, but rather operatives of the Chinese communist government.
A State Department official said foreign journalists in China are working in harsh conditions where "freedom of the press is under a severe siege." He described the Chinese news organizations that the Trump administration is expected to target with new limits as the "propaganda apparatus" of the Chinese government.
"China has long masked intelligence operations with journalistic credentials," Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University, said. "The danger is China could reciprocate against our journalists."
Turley added, "The difference is our journalists in China are actually journalists."
Decoupling between China and the US continues...