It was in the June 28 print edition of the main American newspaper on the West Coast.
The 8-page insert of China Watch, a supplement distributed by China Daily, contains several articles presented as news stories but with a marked bias to make the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) look good.
According to reports from Freedom House and the Hudson Institute where they analyze the influence and sometimes interference of the CCP in the United States, this responds to a tactic often used by Beijing to influence Western public opinion and favor the image of the Party, usually with clear motives such as generating confidence in Chinese investments, or showing a benevolent image in human rights issues, or other points where the CCP is generally criticized.
China Daily invested from November 2016 to April 2020, about $19 million in print and media advertising, this data comes from the submissions that foreign corporations have to make to the U.S. Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).
These submissions have recently become more notorious because Trump has declared several Chinese news agencies to be “foreign missions”. The designation of “foreign missions” is part of the Trump administration’s efforts to identify the propaganda organs of the CCP, which have been spreading misinformation in the United States and the world, especially during this tragic pandemic. China Daily and other CCP-controlled news agencies have come under strict scrutiny for trying to shift responsibility for the pandemic onto the United States.
The Chinese media designated as “foreign missions” now total nine:
Xinhua News Agency
China Global Television Network (CGTN)
China Radio International
China Daily Distribution Corp.
Hai Tian Development USA, Inc.
China News Service
Among the major media that these propaganda agencies have chosen are The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. While these media have been heavily criticized for not accurately reporting on the CCP’s handling of the CCP Virus (coronavirus) pandemic, Beijing kicked out journalists from these media earlier this year because of their reporting on the pandemic.
In the China Watch insert in the LA Times, one of the articles is titled “Decoupling supply chains imprudent, say experts,” in which U.S. lawmakers are criticized for trying to bring back U.S. raw material, drug, and other companies to reduce dependence on the CCP, according to a Daily Caller article.
While the insert comes with a clarification that it is a “paid ad,” the average reader is unlikely to realize that it is “pure Communist Party propaganda,” according to the Hudson Institute report.
The Trump administration has taken a hard line on the CCP after it became known that the it had known since December 2019 about the existence of the deadly pneumonia and it covered it up from the world. At the same time, the WHO under Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, helped the CCP in the cover up, which led to the U.S.’s exit from that organization.
A case in Argentina
An editor of a well-known Argentine media told a coworker who is a Falun Dafa practitioner from Argentina that a “bagman,”—a dishonest official; a person who collects, carries, or distributes illegal payoff money—offered to publish an article titled About pandemics, destructive sects and the role of the State for the sum of 20,000 Argentine pesos. This “bagman” told the media’s editor that he had wanted to publish the article in Infobae (Argentina’s most viewed news portal), but that “they charged him very dearly,” and so he targeted smaller media outlets like El Cronista Comercial and Diario Popular, among others.
The article tried to defame and blame Falun Dafa, an ancient Chinese qigong practice that has been persecuted in China since 1999, for the pandemic.
This case indicates that the CCP not only uses this soft power tactic in the United States, but also around the world and the extent of this is not fully known, since outside the United States, other countries do not have the rigid system of control over these state propaganda organs that pretend to pass as media.