In Retaliatory Move, China Directs 4 US Media Outlets to Submit Details of Their Operations and Staff

China has asked four US media organisations to submit details about their operations in the country, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday in what it described as retaliation for US measures against Chinese media outlets.

The Associated Press, UPI, CBS, and National Public Radio are required to provide information about their staff, financial operations and real estate in China within seven days, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a daily news briefing.

"We urge the US to immediately change course, correct its error, and desist in the political suppression and unreasonable restriction of Chinese media," Zhao said.

The United States and China have been engaged in a series of retaliatory actions involving journalists in recent months, amid increasing tensions over a range of issues, from the coronavirus pandemic to Hong Kong.

Last month, the US said it would start treating another four major Chinese state media outlets as foreign embassies, following similar measures taken by Washington earlier in the year. That designation similarly required the outlets to report their personnel and real estate holdings.

In March, China expelled about a dozen US journalists from the New York Times, the News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. At the time, it also asked those outlets, as well as broadcaster Voice of America and Time magazine, to provide details on their China operations.

That had followed Washington's move to slash the number of journalists permitted to work in the United States at four major Chinese state-owned media outlets.

The AP, NPR, CBS and UPI did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

In May, Washington limited visas for Chinese reporters to a 90-day period, with the option for extension. Previously, such visas were typically open-ended.