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Chinese newspaper paid millions to US dailies to buy media influence: Report

The Chinese state-owned newspaper China Daily paid prominent US newspapers and magazines millions of dollars in a bid to buy media influence, according to reports. According to an independent analyst citing disclosures from the Justice Department, the English-language propaganda outlet funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to American publications such as Time and Foreign Policy. Time magazine received $700,000, Financial Times $371,577, Foreign Policy magazine $291,000. The Los Angeles Times received 272,000, among others.

Chinese Communist Party-controlled China Daily also spent almost $6 million on The Wall Street Journal and nearly $4 million on The Washington Post since November 2016. Both media outlets reportedly published paid supplements produced by China Daily called ‘China Watch’. Despite appearing like actual news reports, the inserts often present pro-Beijing viewpoints about current affairs.

China Daily had also bought ads in several other newspapers, such as The New York Times ($50,000), Foreign Policy ($240,000), The Des Moines Register ($34,600) and CQ-Roll Call ($76,000). The Chinese newspaper spent $11,002,628 on advertising in US newspapers, and another $265,822 on advertising on Twitter.

For years, the US Justice Department has required China Daily to disclose its activities under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) on a semi-annual basis. China Daily submitted its latest filing on June 1, which includes detailed breakdowns of payments made to US news outlets. China Daily reported those expenditures between November 2016 and April 2020.

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The Los Angeles Times, The Seattle Times, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Chicago Tribune, The Houston Chronicle, and The Boston Globe are among China Daily’s clients. An FARA filing indicates that the Chinese outlet paid the Los Angeles Times $657,523 for printing services. The report coincides with the period when China Daily and other Bejing-controlled propaganda media outlets have been under intense scrutiny because of the Coronavirus outbreak.

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