In a file photo, a Chinese police officer takes a break from patrolling Tiananmen Square to read a comic book at a news stand in central Beijing. Despite the vast numbers of magazines and newspapers published throughout the country, China maintains a firm grip on editorial content with harsh penalties for those who stray from the Communist Party's ideology, views and policies. Photo: AFP / Stephen Shaver

The United States on Wednesday tightened rules on six more Chinese media organizations, saying that they are propaganda outlets that answer to the state.

It was the third round of US designation of Chinese outlets as “foreign missions,” which requires them to report details on their US-based staff and real estate transactions to the State Department.

The outlets will face no restrictions on their reporting, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a news conference.

“While free media around the world are beholden to the truth, PRC media are beholden to the CCP,” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said, referring to the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party.

“The United States is publicly recognizing that reality through these designations,” she said.

The six organizations newly designated as foreign missions are Yicai Global, Jiefang Daily, Xinmin Evening News, Social Sciences in China Press, Beijing Review and Economic Daily.

The State Department earlier enforced rules on nine better-known outlets including the Xinhua news agency and China Global Television Network.

China has denounced the regulations and retaliated by expelling US citizens who work for major news organizations including The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal.

Some media rights advocates, while accepting that Chinese outlets are beholden to the state, have voiced unease about the US measures, saying that they give Beijing a pretext to kick out journalists who have done valuable investigative work on human rights and the origins of Covid-19.