On Monday, the Trump administration announced that it would treat China Central Television (CCTV), China News Service, the People’s Daily and the Global Times as arms of the Chinese government, arguing that they are under the control of the Chinese Communist Party.

The designation means the outlets must now submit to the rules that cover diplomatic missions, such as providing detailed information about their employees — whether Chinese or not — and notifying the US government about any real estate transactions.

Five Chinese outlets —Xinhua, CCTV subsidiary China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily and People’s Daily parent Hai Tian Development USA — were given the same label in February. At a regular briefing on Tuesday, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticized the United States for its “political suppression of Chinese media” and argued it would undermine their reporting.

“It also further exposed the hypocrisy of the so-called freedom of press and speech boasted by the US,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for the ministry said at a press conference. “We strongly urge the US to abandon the Cold War mentality, ideological prejudice, and immediately stop and correct this practice that does harm to both sides.”

The US move and China’s threatened response is the latest sign of growing tension between China and the United States over the coronavirus pandemic, trade, and Hong Kong, with media outlets in both countries getting caught in the middle.

Since the US move on Chinese media in February, China has expelled journalists from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. The US government also announced last month that Chinese journalists working for non-American outlets would be limited to 90-day working visas.

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