Starbucks is facing a stream of criticism in mainland China after a journalist for state-owned media spied on its stores as an employee there.

Beijing News on Dec. 13 alleged that two Starbucks stores were using expired ingredients. The paper credited the findings to its reporters who worked there after passing three rounds of interviews.

The topic quickly went viral. It accumulated over 3.14 million views within the day on Weibo. Starbucks said it has launched an investigation and promised zero tolerance for food safety issues.

However, U.S.-based China affairs analyst Tang JingYuan soon noticed that it was more complicated than that. He suspected Starbucks may have been framed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

He told the Epoch Times, “There’s no doubt that the Starbucks scandal is a designed campaign that the Chinese regime is using to express its anger toward the U.S. government for boycotting the Beijing Olympics.”

Tang explained, “It [the Chinese regime] chose state-run media in Beijing to report the scandal and sent the reporters from Beijing to Wuxi, a city over 830 miles away, to be the undercover investigators, it wanted them to do it secretly, so local people wouldn’t be aware of what they were doing.”

He suggested the CCP’s propaganda system was the culprit as the mainland media poured all its focus on the case.

Tang said, “Everybody knows clearly that China’s censorship apparatus doesn’t promote content that doesn’t meet the regime’s needs. In other words, [it] can’t be broadly seen in China.”

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