U.S. flags 5 Chinese media organizations as state entities

Xinhua News Agency.
(Image credit: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

Tensions between the United States and China have seeped into the media sphere.

The State Department on Tuesday designated five Chinese media organizations, which are known to be part of the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda apparatus — Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily, Hai Tian Development — as official government entities.

In practice, it doesn't do a whole lot besides requiring the organizations to get the State Department's approval to purchase or lease any real estate and provide Washington a list of their current staff with individual's personal information. The organizations won't face any journalistic restrictions, meaning they can still report from pretty much anywhere, including State Department briefings. Ultimately, it's more of a symbolic decision, and one that Washington hopes will shed a light on China's media practices.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

"It is alerting people to pay attention to the fact that the message that these organizations give out is one that the Chinese Communist Party wants them to hear, not what we consider real, objective journalism," Bonnie Glaser, the director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told The Washington Post.

The State Department was mum on one potential fallout, though. Two officials declined to comment on whether there was any consideration Beijing would retaliate against foreign reporters in China for the decision, the Post reports. They did, however, say they "were painfully' aware of the difficult situation "foreign journalists operate under in China." Read more at The Washington Post.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.