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Thirty-five lawmakers sought a response from U.S. Attorney General William Barr about reports that the Chinese Communist Party has been violating this country’s Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) for years.
The demand in the form of a letter sent last Thursday followed reports from the Washington Free Beacon in December that China Daily has for years been acting as a transmission belt for communist propaganda without complying with FARA. Said the Beacon: “China Daily, an official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, has published hundreds of propaganda articles designed to look like ordinary news stories in some of America’s most influential newspapers…. The propaganda outlet has repeatedly violated [FARA] by failing to provide full disclosures about its purchases.”
For example, over the last seven years “China Daily has run more than 700 online ads designed to look like news articles, and purchased 500 print pages in six American newspapers…. These propaganda articles frame state oppression in Xinjiang, Tibet and Hong Kong in a positive light [to] run alongside actual news stories produced by reporters at the [Washington] Post, [the New York] Times, Wall Street Journal, and other outlets.”
It added that although the paper registered as a foreign agent in 1983, it didn’t disclose its relationship with U.S. newspapers until 2012.
The revelations outraged Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), who joined with Representative Jim Banks (R-Ind.) in crafting the letter to AG Barr and obtaining 33 co-signers. They wrote: “China Daily presents a distorted account of Chinese Communist Party policy and the Party’s relationship with the United States to an English-speaking audience.” It detailed articles placed in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post that served “as cover for China’s atrocities against Uyghurs in Xinjiang and protestors in Hong Kong.”
The letter concluded that “China Daily’s important role in China’s foreign disinformation campaign warrants a full-fledged investigation into the extent of China Daily’s FARA violations.”
The next day Rep. Banks issued a blistering press release over the revelation from the Free Beacon:
China Daily is a disgusting propaganda rag that’s used by the Chinese Communist Party to cover for the regimes’ ongoing atrocities. If there’s one lesson from the Cold War, it’s that our victory was only possible because we convinced the world that democracy was superior to communist authoritarianism.
Well, it looks like we have to fight that battle again — this time against a far wealthier and equally determined adversary. The federal government must use every weapon in its arsenal to ensure the triumph of our values — the consequences of failure are unspeakable.
What Banks and Cotton and the others have discovered is part of the Chinese Communist Party’s effort to weaken the United States in any way it can in order to achieve its “China Dream.” Fulfillment of that “dream” would be a nightmare for the United States. It’s the communists’ goal to become the global dictator by 2049 (the 100th anniversary of its takeover of the country in 1949).
The infiltration of the media is just one of the many battlegrounds China is funding for that purpose, along with the theft of American intellectual property, building its military second to none, and initiating its “Thousand Talents Plan” to insinuate thousands of Chinese nationals into sensitive positions in the United States.
Banks and Cotton are very late to the game. As Michael Pillsbury noted in his Afterword to his monumental The Hundred-Year Marathon: China’s Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower:
As I’ve noted in this book [published in 2015], American intelligence and national security officials have for too long succumbed to wishful thinking about China’s strategy and ignored the obvious evidence of its deliberate challenge to the West…. Only now, after a forty-year slumber, are we finally beginning to awaken to China’s detailed and deliberate strategy to surpass us by 2049. We can only hope it is not too late.
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