The Beijing Winter Olympics has been overshadowed from the start by complaints over China’s human rights record, harsh COVID-19 rules, and disputes over referees’ decisions. However, that wouldn’t be so apparent if one were to stumble upon a recent ad on CNN’s website.
The sponsored article, supplied by Chinese state-run Xinhua News Agency, features imagery of children skiing on snow-covered fields—including a toddler with a heart-warming smile sporting full ski gear, including eye-catching vermillion goggles.
The “most anticipated winter sports event” has “become even greener,” the article claims before giving a glowing account of virtually every aspect of the Beijing Olympics, from its harsh pandemic protocols to technologies it said would make the Games a carbon-neutral event.
It cites a Wuhan Ice and Snow Sports Association official who voiced confidence that “the winter games will leave a legacy of talent, infrastructure, and technology, as the 2008 summer games in Beijing did.”
“The games is no passing fad,” Wang Jun, vice president of the state-run association, was cited as saying.
A click on either the top or bottom of the page directs readers to Xinhua’s “special coverage” of the Beijing Games with buoyant slogan-like headlines such as “President Xi steers China to unprecedented Olympic achievement” and “Beijing 2022 to usher in new era for winter sports globally.”
Absent from both pages are the controversies surrounding the Beijing Olympics that have dominated headlines in the lead-up to and during the Games.
CriticismCNN has been criticized for past coverage that cast Beijing in a positive light. On the eve of the CCP’s 100th anniversary on July 1, 2021, the cable network ran an article titled “The Chinese Communist Party is about to turn 100 but Xi will be the real star,” referring to Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Weeks prior to that, a CNN article praised Beijing for its “staggering” scale and speed in distributing COVID-19 vaccinations.
“China’s about to administer its billionth coronavirus shot. Yes, you read that right,” the headline read.
Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.), who was critical of the celebratory tone of the 2021 article about Xi, saw CNN’s decision to run the Xinhua ad as a “sad but unsurprising move.”
“Once again, CNN has caved to glorifying and being a mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party,” he told The Epoch Times.
“There is nothing ‘safe’ nor ‘sustainable‘ about the way the authoritarian CCP government runs its nation, and there is also nothing safe about American ‘journalists’ doing the bidding of a regime actively committing genocide and silencing those who dare to speak out against it.”
China’s state-controlled media have spent generously to expand the CCP’s messaging in the West, especially in the United States. Xinhua is a registered foreign agent for China under U.S. law.
Chinese media outlets, of course, haven’t been the sole avenue for the regime in Beijing to make its narratives heard overseas.
CNN didn’t respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment by press time.