Congress report: Xinhua doubles as spy agency

WASHINGTON: A report to the United States Congress released yesterday accused Chinese state media entities of involvement in spying and propaganda and said their staff in the US should be required to register as foreign agents.

The annual report of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said that while China had tightened restrictions on domestic and foreign media, Chinese state media had rapidly expanded overseas.

The commission, created by Congress in 2000 to monitor national security implications of US-China trade relations, said China's state media expansion was part of a broader effort to exert greater control over how China is depicted globally, as well as to gather information.

The report highlighted the rapid growth of the Xinhua news agency and noted that it had offices at the United Nations in New York, Washington, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and San Francisco.

"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," the report said. 

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