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Why is the Chinese government demanding information from Minnesota Public Radio?

The demand came from China's foreign ministry on Monday.
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The Chinese government on Monday issued a demand for information about the operations of a series of American media operations with branches in China, including Minnesota Public Radio.

The demand was made by China's foreign ministry and relayed by the state-owned media outlet People's Daily, China.

"China demands China-based branches of ABC, The Los Angeles Times, Minnesota Public Radio, Bureau of National Affairs, Newsweek and Feature Story News declare information about their staff, finance, operation and real estate in China within seven days," People's Daily reported.

If MPR's inclusion comes as a surprise, it should be noted that MPR has a bureau in Shanghai for its Marketplace program, which is produced and distributed by its parent company, American Public Media.

In a short statement to Bring Me The News, a spokeswoman for MPR/APM would only say: "We have received a request for information. The request is in regards to our Marketplace bureau in Shanghai."

But Nikkei Asia is reporting that the reason for this demand for information is in retaliation to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo designating six more Chinese media organizations as "foreign missions" last Wednesday, which he says was part of an effort to push back against alleged "Chinese communist propaganda efforts" ahead of the Nov. 3 elections.

In a statement, China's foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused the U.S. of ramping up "political repression and stigmatisation of Chinese media agencies and personnel."

"In response, China demands that the China-based branches of [the six firms including MPR] declare in written form information about their staff, finance, operation and real estate in China within seven calendar days from today."

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