A group of 35 U.S. lawmakers has urged the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate Chinese state-run newspaper China Daily for alleged violations of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
China Daily, an English-language newspaper, is overseen by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Publicity Department, the governmental agency in charge of disseminating propaganda. Over the last few years, it has spent millions running supplements—called “China Watch”—in major U.S. newspapers, including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, and The Washington Post, containing propaganda disguised as news.
Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), Sen. Tom Cotton (R.-Ark.), and 33 other lawmakers, in a letter to Attorney General William Barr dated Feb. 6, asked the DOJ to “promptly review and produce a report on China Daily’s compliance” with FARA. Their request came following a December report by The Washington Free Beacon that found the publication did not properly disclose these paid advertisements for more than 30 years.
“Propaganda that seeks to obfuscate communist atrocities deserves to be counteracted,” the letter said.
“China Daily is a disgusting propaganda rag that’s used by the Chinese Communist Party to cover for the regime’s ongoing atrocities,” Banks said in a press release.
“If there’s one lesson from the Cold War, it’s that our victory was only possible because we convinced the world that democracy was superior to communist authoritarianism. Well, it looks like we have to fight that battle again—this time against a far wealthier and equally determined adversary. The federal government must use every weapon in its arsenal to ensure the triumph of our values—the consequences of failure are unspeakable.”
The newspaper registered as a foreign agent under FARA in 1983. That law requires registered foreign agents to provide the DOJ with copies of all propaganda “circulated among two or more persons.” It also requires them to submit to the department, twice a year, an itemized report of their spending inside the United States, the letter said.
The Free Beacon report found that China Daily had been running propaganda in American outlets for decades but did not report this to the DOJ until 2012. Even after this, it did not provide breakdowns of its expenditure as required by FARA, the outlet reported.
China Daily is part of the Chinese regime’s global propaganda efforts, a campaign that the CCP has committed $6.6 billion to since 2009, the letter said. The regime has, according to FARA filings, spent $35 million on China Daily alone since 2017, it added.
The state-run paper has inserted articles in American publications that serve to paint the regime in a positive light and minimize its oppression of the Chinese and other peoples. For instance, it ran a piece in the Wall Street Journal titled “Law-Based Campaign Transforms Xinjiang,” and another in The Washington Post under the headline “Education Flaws Linked to Hong Kong Unrest,” the letter noted.
“Such articles serve as a cover for China’s atrocities, including its crimes against humanity in the Xinjiang region and its support for the crackdown in Hong Kong,” it said.
The lawmakers added that the regime is “committed to shifting foreign perceptions of the Chinese Communist Party.”
“This summer’s NBA boycott and the arson of the Epoch Times headquarters in Hong Kong show the lengths China will go to protects its international image,” the letter said, referring to the arson attack on the print shop of the Hong Kong edition of The Epoch Times last November, an incident which bore the hallmarks of the CCP’s tactics to suppress its opponents.
Last November, Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) in a letter urged news organizations to reconsider their collaboration with China Daily, saying that “we are giving the Chinese government an opportunity to promote values antithetical to the freedoms guaranteed in our Bill of Rights.”
From The Epoch Times