US asks nation-based employees of Chinese state media to share personal details

WION Web Team New York, New York, United States of America May 22, 2020, 03.41 PM(IST)

Chinese State TV Host Liu Xin Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The United States had earlier this year marked five Chinese state media outlets, including CGTN, as Foreign Missions -- as extensions of Beijing's government and requiring them to comply with the same rules that govern foreign embassies and consulates.

The State Department is asking all US-based employees of Chinese state TV network CGTN to share personal details.

The United States had earlier this year marked five Chinese state media outlets, including CGTN, as Foreign Missions -- as extensions of Beijing's government and requiring them to comply with the same rules that govern foreign embassies and consulates.

This also comes in the wake of China announcing, in mid-March, that it would expel journalists from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, in a major escalation of tensions with the US.

Also, CGTN -- the international arm of Chinese state television -- segments have robustly defended China's response to the coronavirus in the face of Western criticism. It also has questioned the motives behind the critique.

The CGTN employees hence have been asked to fill out detailed questionnaires with personal information.

The five-page form, titled "State Department OFM (Office of Foreign Missions) Questionnaire," asks for employees' personal information as well as information about their spouses, children, and anyone else they live with, along with where the employee has worked for the past five years.

All CGTN employees, including those who are American citizens, have until Monday to complete the questionnaire.

CGTN has staff in more than 70 countries. Its bureaus employ both local and Chinese employees.

The five Chinese state media outlets labeled as foreign msisions -- CGTN, Xinhua, China Radio International, the China Daily and the People's Daily -- now also require US government approval to buy or lease office space.