Sing Tao US, the U.S. branch of Sing Tao Daily, was required to register as a foreign agent operating in the United States in late August. Recent reports show several prominent elected officials in California sent Sing Tao US video greetings during its 83rd anniversary gala in early August.
During the banquet, multiple prominent politicians and elected officials, along with the Consul General of the San Francisco Chinese Consulate and the California governor, praised the company and staff. Sing Tao also invited a choir to sing “red songs,” which promote the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Sing Tao is a Hong Kong-based media company founded in 1938. It began providing the United States with its overseas editions in 1963.
Nathan Su, senior reporter and China expert at The Epoch Times, told NTD News in an interview, “Keep in mind, 30 to 40 years ago, Sing Tao newspaper was a completely different newspaper than what Sing Tao is today. During the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, Sing Tao was very much pro-democracy, supporting the student movement on Tiananmen Square, and criticizing the bloody massacre done by the Chinese communist regime in Beijing.”
Documents from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) indicate that Sing Tao US CEO Robert Mui registered the company on Aug. 20, per the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The DOJ officially added it to the list of active foreign agent registrants on Aug. 23.
In the documents, the Justice Department indicated that Sing Tao is “owned by a foreign government,” referring to the CCP.
Sing Tao disputed the DOJ’s conclusion, stating that its U.S. entities are “privately-owned” and are “similarly situated to other for-profit media companies operating in the United States,” according to the FARA filing.
Although the newspaper is not formally associated with the CCP, Sing Tao is currently owned by pro-Beijing businessman Charles Ho Tsu-kwok.
Su said that Sing Tao changed from pro-democracy to pro-Beijing when Ho became chairman of the media company. “Today’s Sing Tao is totally different. They are absolutely not supporting the Hong Kong people’s fight for freedom in the last few years. And they are actually siding with the Chinese Communist Party, their way to rule Hong Kong,” said Su.
He continued, “And, the reason was really clear. For some financial reasons in the ’90s, Sing Tao’s ownership was switched. The current owner of Sing Tao newspaper is a member of CPPCC. That’s Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, in China. That’s the highest-level ally that’s assisting the Chinese Communist Party to rule China. I mean, assisting, not just supporting.”
Su explained that the CPPCC aids the CCP on all issues, including in the Uyghur genocide in Xinjiang. Sing Tao now also assists the CCP in spreading its propaganda on issues including Falun Gong, Hong Kong’s democracy movements, and on COVID-19 (the disease caused by the CCP virus).
Sing Tao published San Francisco Consul General Wang Donghua’s signed article on virus tracing on Aug. 25. Wang’s article claims the United States politicized the virus and is not focused on finding the true source of the virus. Yet, nearly all countries in the international sphere have been researching and investing resources on studying the virus’s origin.
However, Su believes that many of the politicians who sent praise and greeting videos to Sing Tao during its annual gala are likely unaware of the newspaper’s recent status change, especially since the gala was held weeks before Sing Tao registered as a foreign agent. He urges politicians and the public to be more aware of Sing Tao’s activities and affiliation with the CCP.
Sing Tao is now the fourth Chinese state-run media organization to register as a foreign agent, following Xinhua, the largest CCP-founded new agency; CGTN, the international branch of Chinese state broadcaster China Central Television; and China Daily, an English-language newspaper owned by the CCP.