Chinese State-Run Outlet Continues Paying US Newspapers Millions to Publish Its Propaganda

November 23, 2020 Updated: November 26, 2020

China Daily, the Chinese regime’s propaganda outlet, has spent millions over the past six months on U.S. publications, according to its statement (pdf) filed last week with the Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

According to the statement, China Daily’s overall expenses from May 1 to Oct. 31 this year topped $4.4 million, of which around $3.1 million was spent on printing, advertising, and distribution, and about $1.3 million for payrolls and other operating expenses.

The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Policy, and the Seattle Times were some of the notable recipients. The Los Angeles Times received $340,000 for advertisements and $111,501 for printing newspapers in that time frame.

 

Epoch Times Photo
The filing document shows China Daily paid US media outlets million over the past six months. (screenshot/The Epoch Times)

Over the past few years, China Daily has spent millions running supplements—called “China Watch”—containing propaganda disguised as news in major U.S. media outlets. These supplements are inserted as advertisements in newspapers or paid programs online.

However, scholars researching Chinese influence activities in the United States said in a 2018 report (pdf) that “it’s hard to tell that China Watch’s material is an ad.”

A paid insert of China Daily inside Wall Street Journal
A paid insert of China Daily inside the Jan. 17, 2017 edition of the Wall Street Journal. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

On Feb. 18, China Daily and four other media outlets from China were designated as foreign missions by the State Department, which on June 22 added another four Chinese news outlets to the list.

“[General Secretary Xi Jinping] said ‘Party-owned media must … embody the party’s will, safeguard the party’s authority … their actions must be highly consistent with the party,’ in short, while Western media are beholden to the truth, PRC media are beholden to the Chinese Communist Party,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement in June.

China Daily’s previous financial filings (pdf) with the Justice Department show that it paid more than $4.6 million to The Washington Post and nearly $6 million to The Wall Street Journal since November 2016. It also showed the outlet paid The New York Times $50,000 in 2018.

The Washington Post and The NY Times stopped running the advertising insert early this year. The Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, and the LA Times didn’t immediately respond to requests by The Epoch Times for comment.

According to China Daily’s recent filing, for the past six months, its total subscription and advertisement income was $123,700.56. However, the “Fund from Headquarters Office” was $4,416,133.35, accounting for about 97 percent of total income.

China Daily, which is headquartered in Beijing, is owned by the Publicity Department, an internal division of the Chinese Communist Party.

Zachary Stieber and Cathy He contributed to this report.