Last month, the Trump administration announced Chinese "media" outlets based in the United States will no longer be treated as press outlets. Instead, they will be categorized as foreign entities operating as propagandists for China's communist party.
As a follow-up, the State Department announced Monday additional restrictions will be placed on a number of "media outlets" working for China inside the United States.
"The U.S. government is today instituting a personnel cap on certain PRC-controlled state media entities in the United States – specifically, the five entities that were designated by the U.S. State Department on February 18, 2020, as foreign missions of the People's Republic of China. This cap limits the number of Chinese citizens permitted to work for these organizations in the United States at any given time," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo released in a statement Monday. "The cap applies to the five Chinese state media entities operating in the United States that have been designated as foreign missions, which recognizes that they are effectively controlled by the PRC government. Unlike foreign media organizations in China, these entities are not independent news organizations."
Further, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling out the Chinese government for cracking down on real journalists working and reporting on important issues, including the coronavirus.
"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," Pompeo said. "President Trump has made clear that Beijing's restrictions on foreign journalists are misguided. The U.S. government has long welcomed foreign journalists, including PRC journalists, to work freely and without threat of reprisal."
"The decision to implement this personnel cap is not based on any content produced by these entities, nor does it place any restrictions on what the designated entities may publish in the United States," he continued. "Our goal is reciprocity. As we have done in other areas of the U.S.-China relationship, we seek to establish a long-overdue 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 press in China."
Reciprocity has been central to the Trump administration's overall policy toward China, whether it's on trade or a free press.