The United States on Wednesday tightened rules on six more Chinese media organizations, saying that they are propaganda outlets that answer to the state.
The fresh move against Chinese media was met with anger in Beijing, which said it would take "necessary" countermeasures, without specifying which US outlets it might target inside its territory.
It was the third round of US designations 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.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a news conference Wednesday that the affected outlets will face no restrictions on their reporting.
"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.
China's foreign ministry on Thursday slammed the latest moves on its US-based media as "unreasonable actions" that were "based on a Cold War mentality and ideological bias."
"China will make a legitimate and necessary response to this," ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular press briefing.
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.