Chinese President Xi Jinping urges CGTN to Chinese President Xi Jinping urges CGTN to "tell China's stories well". (Reuters: Ludovic Marin)

USA vs China - the quiet war starts to get real

 US imposes new rules on state-owned Chinese media over propaganda concerns

The Trump administration says it will begin treating five major Chinese state-run media entities with US operations the same as foreign embassies, requiring them to register their employees and US properties with the State Department.

Key points:

  • US officials say the move comes after China intensified use of media to spread pro-Beijing propaganda overseas
  • President Xi Jinping sees media as a way to promote Chinese soft power abroad
  • Western media outlets operating in China already face harsh restrictions

Two senior State Department officials said the decision was made because China had been tightening state control over its media, and President Xi Jinping had made more aggressive use of them to spread pro-Beijing propaganda.

The control over both the content and editorial control have only strengthened over the course of Xi Jinping's term in power, said one official.

"These guys are in fact arms of the CCP's [Chinese Community Party's] propaganda apparatus."

Beijing was not informed in advance of the decision and would be notified on Tuesday afternoon, one official said.

Beijing's control of China's state-owned media has become "more and more draconian," the second official said. Both officials spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity.

Tensions between the two superpowers have escalated since President Donald Trump came to office three years ago, with disputes ranging from trade tariffs to accusations of Chinese spying in the United States and to US support for Taiwan.

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(Source:; February 19, 2020;
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