A little known fact is that foreign countries can buy ad space in American publications through which they can spread their propaganda. These “ads” are intended to appear as normal news stories and appear alongside editorial posts. The only requirement is that they must be properly reported to to the Department of Justice and registered as foreign agents.
China Daily, a propaganda arm for the Communist Party, failed to do so on multiple occasions over the last seven years, according to an investigation conducted by the Washington Free Beacon:
China Daily has published propaganda in mainstream outlets for decades, but did not disclose its purchases of space in American newspapers to the Department of Justice until 2012. Even after it began acknowledging its relationship with the papers, the regime mouthpiece continued to violate federal disclosure requirements. China Daily has failed to provide breakdowns of spending activities and withheld copies of online ads, among other omissions that violate federal law, according to experts who reviewed years of its FARA filings.
The Washington Free Beacon reviewed all of the physical copies of China Daily‘s ads filed with the DOJ, as well as online ads the propaganda outlet did not submit to the department. China Daily has run more than 700 online ads designed to look like news articles and purchased 500 print pages in six American newspapers over the last seven years. These propaganda articles frame state oppression in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong in a positive light and run alongside actual news stories produced by reporters at the Post, Times, Wall Street Journal, and other outlets.
The rules surrounding these types of activities are similar to those for foreign agent lobbyists. In many ways, organizations like China Daily act as lobbyists, only their targets are not lawmakers or bureaucrats. They seek to sway the perspectives of the American people by promoting pro-China “studies” that are “reported” as news in their ad buys. Some may question the wisdom of allowing such practices, as most countries do not. But it gives the government an insight into the messaging foreign entities are trying to sell in America. In other words, they’re going to do it one way or another as the perspectives of Americans can sway politicians just as easily as lobbyists. It’s best to know what’s out there, which is why reporting activities is of such high importance to the DOJ.
Apparently, China Daily didn’t want the DOJ to know about every piece of propaganda they were pushing, as the report shows.
“These newspapers are doing a disservice to their brave journalists in China who are taking tremendous risks to report on the Xinjiang issue,” Yaqiu Wang, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, said. “I think newspapers should take a more principled stance to reject those ads that are clearly not speaking the truth.”
It’s time to cut off China’s propaganda wing in the United States. If they refuse to play by the rules, then there’s no way to know how deep their propaganda goes. That’s dangerous, especially considering how many fronts China opposes the U.S.
We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.
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