Senator Urges Newsweek to Reconsider Relationship With Contributor Who’s a Registered Agent for China

By Danella Pérez Schmieloz
Danella Pérez Schmieloz
Danella Pérez Schmieloz
China Reporter
January 4, 2022 Updated: January 5, 2022

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) has warned Newsweek magazine that one of its contributors is registered as a foreign agent of the Chinese regime.

In a Jan. 3 letter, Scott said Vipp Jaswal agreed to receive $210,000 in advance from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to find social media influencers willing to endorse the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.

Jaswal, as chief executive of Vippi Media, signed a $300,000 contract in November with the Chinese consulate in New York to oversee a marketing campaign through mid-March across Instagram, TikTok, and livestreaming platform Twitch.

The main goal of the deal was to present a favorable portrayal of the Beijing Games and U.S.–China relations, according to a Dec. 10 disclosure filed with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agent Registration Act.

“Mr. Jaswal … has chosen to join forces with America’s enemy and one of the world’s most evil regimes as it actively commits genocide,” Scott wrote in the letter addressed to Newsweek Chief Executive Dev Pragad and Global Editor in Chief Nancy Cooper.

Scott said the CCP is committing genocide against the Uyghurs in the far-west region of Xinjiang, China, which should be reason enough to change the venue of the Winter Games, a topic that has been thoroughly reported by Newsweek. The Chinese regime has also dismantled democracy in Hong Kong, continued its long-standing persecution against Tibetans, and used its military to harass and intimidate Taiwan, according to the letter.

“We cannot ignore these crimes and should not give a voice to those who help Communist China attempt to whitewash them with the grand spectacle of the 2022 Olympic Games,” the letter reads.

The 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games are set to start on Feb. 4. Rights groups have accused the CCP of exploiting the glamour of the Olympics to improve its reputation and to distract people from its record as a gross human rights abuser.

The U.N. estimates that more than 1 million Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities have been detained in internment camps in Xinjiang. Survivors of the internment camps have revealed the grisly details of rape, torture, and other atrocities they were subjected to during detention.

The senator also said Jaswal, who is a member of the magazine’s Expert Forum, “compromised his ability to publish in American media outlets that focus on reporting the truth and exposing abuse.”

The lawmaker urged Newsweek to reconsider Jaswal’s future contributions to the magazine given his affiliation with the Chinese regime.

“If such content is published, readers should be informed, through a disclaimer in Mr. Jaswal’s biography that he is shilling for a genocidal regime,” the letter reads.

China’s campaign against the Uyghurs has been labeled as a genocide not only by human rights groups, but also by the U. S. government and the parliaments of Canada, The Netherlands, Lithuania, Belgium, the Czech Republic, and the UK.

On Dec. 9, an independent people’s tribunal, known as the Uyghur Tribunal, ruled that the Chinese regime has committed genocide against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang.

Human rights groups have labeled the 2022 Winter Olympics as the “Genocide Games,” as they’re scheduled to take place in Beijing despite the ongoing human rights violations perpetrated by the CCP.

U.S. and international lawmakers, as well as rights groups, have pleaded with the International Olympic Committee to postpone or relocate the event, but it declined the demands, prompting calls for a boycott.

On Dec. 6, the United States announced a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Olympics, which means the country won’t send an official delegation to China for the games, but U.S athletes will still participate in the competition. Other nations, including the UK and Australia, have followed suit.

However, the U.S. diplomatic boycott announcement drew both praise and criticism, as some have argued that the measure isn’t strong enough, given the grave allegation of genocide.

Newsweek and Jaswal didn’t respond to a request for comment by press time.

Eva Fu contributed to this report.

Danella Pérez Schmieloz