The State Department is placing a cap on the number of Chinese citizen employees that five Chinese-state backed news outlets operating in the U.S. are allowed to hire.
The Trump administration announced Monday that it is imposing the cap to retaliate against Beijing over its “long-standing intimidation and harassment of journalists,” Reuters reported. The cap will apply to U.S. based employees of news organizations including Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International, and China Daily Distribution Corp.
“For years, the government of the People’s Republic of China has imposed increasingly harsh surveillance, harassment, and intimidation against American and other foreign journalists operating in China,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
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 move comes nearly two weeks after China expelled three Wall Street Journal reporters, China’s response after the State Department designated five Chinese media companies — which are now faced with the personnel cap — as agents of the Chinese Communist Party. (RELATED: China Expels Three Wall Street Journal Reporters Following ‘Racially Discriminatory’ Opinion Article)
Monday’s decision was not particularly linked to the Wall Street Journal case, senior State Department officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to Reuters said.
“President Trump has made clear that Beijing’s restrictions on foreign journalists working in China are misguided, a State Department spokesperson told the Daily Caller. “The U.S. government has long welcomed foreign journalists, including from China, to report the news freely and without threat of reprisal.”
After the cap is implemented, the Chinese state media groups “which are explicit organs of the Chinese Communist Party” will continue to employ more Chinese personnel in the U.S. than there are foreign reporters at all U.S. media outlets in China, the spokesperson said. “It is our hope that this action will spur Beijing to adopt a more fair and reciprocal approach to U.S. and other foreign independent press in China.”
The decision to implement the cap will not place any restrictions on what the agencies publish in the U.S., but rather, the spokesperson says the goal is “reciprocity.”
“This Administration seeks reciprocity across the bilateral relationship, and particularly in areas where we have long suffered from a lack of a level playing field. It is our hope that this action will spur Beijing to adopt a more fair and reciprocal approach to U.S. and other foreign independent press in China.”