Towards China-Gate? Chinese State Media to Register in America as “Foreign Agents”. US Congressional Report

Congressional commission alleges some Chinese media staff in the US help with Beijing’s intelligence gathering effort

The Russia-Gate “Foreign Agent” campaign directed against RT America and Sputnik has now been extended to Moscow’s closest ally, The People’s Republic of China: 

“The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said that Beijing has rapidly expanded its overseas media presence to promote a positive view of the rising Asian nation and the ruling Communist Party, even as it has tightened its control over media and online content at home and increased restrictions on foreign journalists in China” (South China Morning Post, November 30, 2017)

Will China’s State media be categorized as a “Foreign Agent”?

According to AP, quoting “Congressional advisers”:

All staff of Chinese state-run media outlets in the United States should be required to register with the government as foreign agents as they may be supporting Chinese intelligence gathering and “information warfare”” 

According to Sputnik, the measure is largely directed against China’s Xinhua news agency, which is accused by the US Congressional commission of gathering intelligence “on behalf of Chinese leadership”.

According to the USCC report

“Xinhua serves some of the functions of an intelligence agency by gathering information and producing classified reports for the Chinese leadership on both domestic and international events,”

This initiative has far-reaching geopolitical implications. Why now? US-China Confrontation at the UN Security Council concerning North Korea?

Will this recommendation, were it be applied, have an impact on US-China bilateral relations?

Will it contribute to reinforcing Beijing’s relations with Moscow to the detriment of Washington? Inevitably, this measure will have an impact on international diplomacy.

If it were to be applied, Beijing would in all likelihood respond with “similar measures” directed against US media conglomerates operating in China:

The bipartisan commission recommends that Congress strengthen the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA, which requires registration by people or companies disseminating information in the US on behalf of foreign governments, political parties and other “foreign principals”. The law is applied to foreign lobbying efforts, but the Justice Department has also required registration by media outlets funded by foreign governments. Associated Press report in SCMP. November 30, 2017

Featured image is from South China Morning Post.

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Articles by: Associated Press

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