Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, praised the “journalistic integrity” of a media outlet that has ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and was recently designated as a “foreign agent” by the Department of Justice (DOJ). 

The comments were made on August 9, at the annual gala of the pro-Beijing newspaper Sing Tao Daily, as reported by Free Beacon.

During his speech, he thanked Editor-in-Chief Joseph Leung for its “balanced” news coverage for its readers.

“Joseph, your work has been a labor of service—not only to the Chinese American community throughout the Bay Area but all throughout Northern California community as well. I want to commend you and your incredible staff, your leadership team at Sing Tao Daily for your dedication to journalistic integrity and for providing balanced news stories to Chinese Americans and beyond,” Newsom said.

“You represent the best of California and you remind us, as always, that diversity is our strength,” he added.

Sing Tao Daily is the oldest Chinese-language newspaper in Hong Kong, and began publication on August 1, 1938. 

The first overseas edition was launched in 1963 in San Francisco, where the first overseas office was established.

Last August 23, Sing Tao’s U.S.-based subsidiaries registered with the U.S. Department of Justice as foreign agents under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). 

The video of Newsom’s statements was released on August 16, before the DOJ filings last week.

Newsom’s praise of the CCP mouthpiece comes as he campaigns to remain governor of California. Newsom’s opponents cite California’s high tax rates, homelessness, and lax enforcement of immigration laws as reasons for the Democrat to leave office. Now he is also being criticized for praising the CCP, which is considered a “threat” to the U.S., mainly because of national security concerns.

San Francisco Mayor London Breed (D.), State Senator Scott Wiener (D.), and San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin also spoke at the Sing Tao gala.

Agents of Propaganda

Propaganda is critical for the Chinese regime to fulfill its geopolitical aspirations. Its efforts to sow discord and misinformation in the United States have very real consequences for the U.S. business, political and social climate.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, spending by Chinese foreign agents has skyrocketed from just over $10 million in 2016 to nearly $64 million in 2020.

Through its propaganda operations and undercover agents, the CCP has become a “machine” for investing in foreign influence in the United States.

U.S. laws designed to compel disclosure of paid foreign influence are beginning to reveal the enormous sums the CCP has devoted to this agenda.

DOJ filings indicate that Sing Tao News Corp. Ltd. is owned by and engaged in political activities on behalf of entities that may be considered “foreign agents.”  While the DOJ acknowledged that the group was for-profit and not owned by a foreign government, it considered its political activities to fall under FARA.

Chinese media outlets controlled by the Chinese regime such as CGTN, China Daily, and Xinhua have also been registered as foreign agents by the DOJ.

Political Activities

Under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act. (FARA), entities or persons deemed to promote foreign influence in the country and owned or acting at the direction of foreign governments or organizations must register as “foreign agents.”

Registered foreign agents must declare in public filings every six months the details of their activities in the U.S., as well as any funding received from their foreign principal or paid to other parties.

According to Radio Free Asia, at least two of Sing Tao’s principals are part of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which serves as an advisory committee to the CCP legislature.

In turn, CCP-owned China Daily said last year that Sing Tao News Corp. chairman Ho Tsu-kwok endorsed the National Security Law. This controversial CCP-imposed law has been used to arrest pro-democracy journalists in Hong Kong.

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