He said it was Washington's "latest step of political suppression and stigmatization of Chinese media and journalists stationed in the US".
"China firmly rejects and strongly condemns the US' senseless moves," Zhao said at a regular news briefing in Beijing.
Since February, 15 Chinese media outlets have been designated as "foreign missions" by the US.
The spokesman said that actions by the US that target Chinese media are based on a Cold War mentality and ideological prejudice.
These actions have severely undermined the reputation and image of Chinese media, disrupted their normal operations in the US and obstructed cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two sides, he said.
"It reveals the hypocrisy of the US' self-proclaimed 'freedom of the press'," Zhao said.
In recent years, the US has intensified its discrimination and suppression of Chinese media by putting arbitrary restrictions on its normal reporting activities.
Since 2018, the US has delayed and even denied the visas of 30 US-based Chinese journalists. In March, the US in effect expelled 60 Chinese journalists.
On May 11, the US announced its decision to limit visas for all Chinese journalists to a maximum 90-day stay. The visas of these journalists expired on Aug 6 and the US has not granted visa extensions to any of them so far.
"China urges the US to immediately change course, correct its mistakes, and stop the political oppression and senseless restrictions against Chinese media outlets," Zhao said.
Responding to the US approval on Wednesday of a potential $1.8 billion arms sale to Taiwan, Zhao said that China will make a legitimate and necessary reaction as the situation develops, urging the US to withdraw its sales plan to prevent further damage to China-US relations.
Zhao noted that, by selling arms to Taiwan, the US seriously violates the one-China principle and the provisions of the three China-US joint communiques, especially the Aug 17 communique.
The sale seriously interferes with China's internal affairs, seriously damages China's sovereignty and security interests, sends a seriously wrong signal to "Taiwan independence" separatist forces, and severely undermines China-US relations and peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits, he said.
The latest US arms package includes sensors, missiles and artillery, according to Reuters. - China Daily/Asian News Network
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