Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is keeping silent in response to the urging of an Indiana Republican and four colleagues that she end distribution of China Daily, a Chinese regime propaganda outlet, to congressional offices.
“I sent letters to Congress’s Chief Administrative Officer and to the Chairperson and Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration asking for help,” Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) told Pelosi earlier this week in a letter first reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t receive any; so, I’m turning to you as Speaker of the House. I ask you: How is Chinese propaganda arriving on my doorstep each morning when the Capitol is closed to the public? And what are you going to do about it?”
Ashley Etienne, Pelosi’s communications director, didn’t immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment on Banks’s letter. Also signing the letter to Pelosi were Republican Reps. Greg Steube of Florida, Brian Babin of Texas, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, and Mike Johnson of Louisiana.
Rep. Chuck Fleishmann (R-Tenn.), a member of the House Appropriations Committee, echoed Banks’s concerns in an email to The Epoch Times.
“China Daily is a state-run media outlet and registered foreign agent under FARA, they are not even credentialed by the congressional press galleries,” he said. “So why is their propaganda on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] distributed to members of Congress? This is something that needs to be looked into.”
After designating China Daily and four other Chinese outlets as foreign missions earlier this year, the State Department announced June 22 it was adding four more Chinese government-controlled entities to the list.
“Over the past decade and particularly under General Secretary Xi Jinping’s tenure, the CCP has reorganized China’s state propaganda outlets disguised as news agencies and asserted even more direct control over them,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a June 22 statement.
“He has stated, ‘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,” Ortagus said.
The China Daily publication has been distributed free of charge to Hill offices of senators and representatives since 1983. In recent issues, multiple stories have appeared that unfavorably compare U.S. riots in the wake of George Floyd’s May 25 killing by a Minneapolis police officer to China’s brutal takeover of Hong Kong contrary to the “one country, two systems” agreement it signed with the United Kingdom in 1997.
Beijing has spent millions of dollars through the China Daily in recent years on advertising sections made to look like genuine news content and inserted into The New York Times, Washington Post, and other major U.S. newspapers.
Banks has been campaigning to remove the China Daily for months. Earlier this year, he told The Epoch Times that “what people don’t know is that every morning, we receive a packet of journals and newspapers, and, while that is very helpful to me as a policymaker, the China Daily being included on an almost-daily basis in that packet is a dangerous precedent.”
“Not just because it’s a propaganda rag, but because of who owns it and how it’s paid for, and for that to show up on the doorstep of every member of Congress, to be distributed to every member of Congress’s team, and oftentimes to be lying around for constituents visiting offices to read, which is what most of these newspapers end up doing, is almost an endorsement of them as a legitimate news source, which they are not.”
In a Sept. 30, 2019, letter to Phil Kieko, the chief administrative officer (CAO) of the House of Representatives, Banks said China Daily and the four-to-eight page inserts in U.S. publications “serve as cover for China’s atrocities, including its genocide of Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region and its support for the crackdown in Hong Kong.”
Kieko, a former longtime aide to Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) before becoming the House CAO, declined to act in response to Banks’s letter, claiming to have no jurisdiction over the distribution of news products to House offices.
Contact Mark Tapscott at Mark.Tapscott@epochtimes.nyc