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Tensions between Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping have escalated during the coronavirus pandemic. Mr Trump has accused the state of a campaign of misinformation over the origin of the virus which has devastated economies across the world. The US State Department has now moved to designate several Chinese news outlets as state propaganda outlets.
In a statement, the department claimed the China Central Television, China News Service, the People’s Daily, and the Global Times do not uphold truth but rather what the Chinese Communist Party wants.
These outlets now join the Xinhua News Agency, China Global Television Network, China Radio International, China Daily Distribution Corporation, and Hai Tian Development USA on the list of news agencies under the Foreign Missions Act.
Once placed under the act, all the entities must adhere to certain administrative measures which apply to foreign embassies.
In response, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said: “We strongly urge the US to discard the Cold War mentality, and ideological bias, and immediately stop and correct these damaging and harmful actions.
“Or else China must respond with a fitting response.”
In contrast, the US State Department has claimed Xi has moved to gain full control of the media output in the state.
It said: “Over the past decade and particularly under General Secretary Xi Jinping’s tenure, the CCP has reorganised China’s state propaganda outlets disguised as news agencies and asserted even more direct control over them.
“In short, while Western media are beholden to the truth, PRC media are beholden to the Chinese Communist Party.”
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The US and China have also clashed over the creation of a new security law imposed on Hong Kong.
Under the law, the Chinese government would clamp down on any attempt to subvert the authority of the state.
Any acts of violence or intimidation would also be classed as domestic terrorism.
Activities by foreign forces intervening in Hong Kong would also be classed as illegal while any attempt to break away from the country would be banned.
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The new law has caused fresh protests throughout Hong Kong as some have warned it could threaten its semi-autonomous status.
After being handed back to China from British rule in 1997, Hong Kong was given specific freedoms.
However, a mini-constitution called the Basic Law rule was created to protect certain democratic rights such as the freedom of speech and assembly.
If the new security law is passed, there is fear these democratic right could be infringed.
In response, Boris Johnson has indicated a 12-month visa would be available to Hong Kong citizens eligible for a British National Overseas passport.
Writing in the Times, Mr Johnson said: “Britain would have no choice but to uphold our profound ties of history and friendship with the people of Hong Kong”.
“Today about 350,000 people hold British Nationals Overseas passports and another 2.5 million people would be eligible to apply for them.
“At present these passports allow for visa free access for up to six months.
“If China imposes its national security law, the British government will change its immigration rules and allow any holder of these passports from Hong Kong to come to the UK for a renewable period of 12 months and be given further immigration rights including the right to work which would place them on the route to citizenship.”
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