11:25 GMT09 April 2020
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    The US Department of State announced Monday that Beijing’s state media entities operating in the US will be subjected to a 100-employee cap, restricting the organizations’ ability to produce content in the US and, as one expert tells Sputnik, the right to free speech.

    John Ross, a senior fellow at Chongyang Institute, Renmin University of China, and an award-winning resident columnist with several Chinese media organizations, joined Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear to discuss the Trump administration’s recent decision and give his opinion on why it came about.

    “I think the reality of what’s happening in the US is that the US is becoming nervous about the truth about China coming out,” he told hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou.

    “The whole coronavirus situation is extremely threatening for the population in the United States, and China is the only country in the world which has got the coronavirus under control, and I think that the US government doesn’t want the truth about this to come out.”

    US Vice President Mike Pence announced Tuesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be lifting previous criteria required for COVID-19 tests.

    “The estimates we’re getting from industry right now — by the end of this week, close to a million tests will be able to be performed,” said Dr. Stephen Hahn, head of the Food and Drug Administration, as reported by the New York Times.

    “In the case of the US, you’ve got a real threat - you’ve got a real threat from poverty,” Ross argued. “We know what will happen. People who’ve got no income will be desperate and attempt to evade the quarantine or movement restrictions, and this will spread the virus. So this is a deadly threat.”

    He noted that working-class people and citizens bringing in low incomes in the US will be impacted the most by the coronavirus. This stems from the fact that many people belonging to these groups depend on their daily attendance in the workplace and cannot afford to miss a paycheck.

    Ross asserted that the US will have to adopt a policy similar to China’s and guarantee people’s usual income, despite their designated quarantine status, so they will respect movement restrictions imposed by health officials.

    “Otherwise … you’re literally gonna kill people,” he said, matter-of-factly.

    Ross stated that he believes this is a sign that it’s clear the US government knows that a growing number of American citizens do not agree with how the country is being run.

    “It’s just a return to McCarthyism, isn’t it? It’s the return to the blacklists, which you had in the 1950s,” he said, noting that the State Department’s recent move, like the practice of McCarthyism which arose during the Second Red Scare, is designed to “shut you out of employment for life.”

    “The US proclaims free speech as long as it actually believes that very few people support the opposition to the present situation in the United States,” he said. When Washington feels as if this norm has been violated, freedom of speech is abandoned.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CDC, Loud and Clear, Radio Sputnik, Trump Administration, McCarthyism, Mike Pence, Donald Trump, coronavirus, China
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