US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the decision at a press briefing on Wednesday, saying that the six media companies were “substantially or effectively controlled by a foreign government.”
“We’re not placing any restrictions on what these outlets can publish in the United States,” Pompeo said. “We simply want to ensure that American people, consumers of information, can differentiate between news written by a free press and propaganda distributed by the Chinese Communist Party itself. They’re not the same thing.”
The US operations of Yicai Global, Jiefang Daily, Xinmin Evening News, Social Sciences in China Press, Beijing Review and Economic Daily will all be affected by the decision, according to a release from State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.
Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Chinese state-run tabloid Global Times, said on his official Twitter that the decision would “further poison [the] working environment of media outlets in each other’s country.”
“As long as Chinese media outlets suffer actual harm, Beijing will definitely retaliate,” Hu said. He added that US media operations in Hong Kong, which has traditionally operated as an international media hub, could be included on a “retaliation list.”
Hu’s posts on Twitter — a social media platform which is banned in mainland China — are frequently inflammatory, and many of his predictions have failed to come to pass.