China defied U.S. federal law in its publication of communist ads on several American newspapers, an investigative report claims.
Designed to appear like common news stories, propaganda articles from the state-owned China Daily have appeared on influential publications such as the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal for years.
China’s state media are officially losing their minds over #HongKong: https://t.co/0LV9cYcGC8 (This is China Daily. TOP papers like @washingtonpost & @nytimes accept millions from them to plant genuine-looking ‘news’ inserts into their print editions.) pic.twitter.com/Cdi9UT5Ub4
— Tom Grundy (@tomgrundy) September 9, 2019
While foreign agents can advertise in the U.S., China Daily repeatedly violated the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) by failing to disclose the amount it has spent on publishing through those outlets, the Washington Free Beacon reported.
In the last seven years, the Chinese state mouthpiece has purchased more than 500 print pages in six American newspapers and ran over 700 propaganda articles, some of which put controversial issues in Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang in a positive light.
China Daily did not disclose its purchases of ad space from 1983 to 2012, and even after acknowledging its relationship with the U.S. papers, it still failed to show a breakdown of expenses and deliberately withheld copies of the articles, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
It’s unclear how much the papers have earned from running China Daily propaganda all those years, but a firm that still publishes ads with the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal reportedly shared that full-page costs between $65,000 and $120,000.
Sunday New York Times section A has China Daily insert. When did this start & how much does China Daily pay 4 this? pic.twitter.com/ErYirrMYRL
— Bill Bishop (@niubi) December 29, 2013
One example of propaganda article that appeared on the Wall Street Journal described China’s mass detention of Uyghurs in Xinjiang as a “law-based campaign of de-radicalization.”
Another that appeared on the Washington Post claimed that a Catholic town in Buddhist-majority Tibet “entered an era of coexistence” due to the mediation of the local government.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the New York Times defended the newspaper’s integrity, referring to its recent coverage of government documents that exposed how Xinjiang’s “re-education” camps came to be.
“The New York Times covers China thoroughly and aggressively, and at no time has advertising influenced our coverage,” the spokesperson said, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said that the American newspapers in question traded credibility for money. He has also called for China Daily’s disappearance from the offices of Congress members.
“These outlets claim to support democracy, but they’ve participated in a cover-up for an ongoing communist-run genocide. It’s disgusting,” Banks said, according to the Washington Free Beacon.
— Jim Banks (@RepJimBanks) December 6, 2019
President Donald Trump, who was just impeached by the House of Representatives, has long accused China of placing propaganda ads on American newspapers. In 2018, he took a jab at the Iowa-based Des Moines Register for running one that labeled the U.S.-China trade war a “fruit of a president’s folly.”
“China is actually placing propaganda ads in the Des Moines Register and other papers, made to look like news,” Trump wrote in a tweet. “That’s because we are beating them on Trade, opening markets, and the farmers will make a fortune when this is over!”
China is actually placing propaganda ads in the Des Moines Register and other papers, made to look like news. That’s because we are beating them on Trade, opening markets, and the farmers will make a fortune when this is over! pic.twitter.com/ppdvTX7oz1
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2018