A money trail connects several major establishment American publications with a news agency that spouts Chinese Communist Party propaganda, according to a new report.
China Daily paid more than $1.6 million for advertising campaigns in Time, the Los Angeles Times, the Financial Times and Foreign Policy, as documented by a disclosure form filed with the Justice Department. Time raked in $700,000 from the publication, the form noted.
Another $1 million went to newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and the Houston Chronicle, to print copies of its own publications.
The form covers a six-month period that ended April 30.
The spending reflects a long-term pattern of spending in U.S. publications.
In June, a federal disclosure form said China Daily had spent nearly $19 million from 2016 through 2020 with American publications, the Daily Caller News Foundation reported.
During that time, China Daily attacked former President Donald Trump’s tariffs in the Des Moines Register, according to Voice of America. The ad was placed in 2018, as the 2020 presidential campaign was gearing up.
“Beijing has a large toolbox for influencing media around the world and its tactics have been evolving, especially since 2017,” Sarah Cook, senior research analyst for China at Freedom House, told The Washington Post in January.
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The Free Beacon report noted that some publications “have come under fire for publishing China Daily inserts entitled ‘China Watch.’” These inserts run what looks like news with a strong pro-China slant.
The outlet reported that The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have stopped publishing “China Watch” because of its heavy dose of propaganda.
Those publications were listed in the earlier spending report filed by China Daily, but not in the most recent one.
According to the latest filing, the Los Angeles Times received $272,000 in advertising.
China Daily paid $89,700 to the Los Angeles Times for printing services and $164,000 collectively to the Chicago Tribune, the Houston Chronicle and The Boston Globe.
Jonathan Hassid, a political science professor at Iowa State University, said the publications are not all that successful.
“The Chinese Communist Party doesn’t really fundamentally understand how Western societies and Western media works,” he told VOA.
“They think that Western media just looks like the Chinese media. And so [they] try to influence them in the same way. This, of course, is a fundamental misreading of the situation. And fundamentally, I mean, their credibility is poor around the world and growing worse.”