By Natalie Winters of The National Pulse
A host of corporate media outlets including CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and MSNBC have participated in private dinners and sponsored trips with the China-United States Exchange Foundation, a Chinese Communist Party-funded group seeking to garner “favorable coverage” and “disseminate positive messages” regarding China, The National Pulse can reveal.
Other outlets involved in the propaganda operation include Forbes, the Financial Times, Newsweek, Bloomberg, Reuters, ABC News, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, AFP, TIME magazine, LA Times, The Hill, BBC, and The Atlantic.
The relationship is revealed in the Department of Justice’s Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) filings, which reveal a relationship spanning over a decade between establishment media outlets and the China–United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF).
CUSEF is a Chinese Communist Party-funded initiative founded by Tung Chee Hwa. The group also targets American universities with offers to fund policy research, high-level dialogues, and exchange programs.
Tung also serves as Vice-Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), identified by the U.S.-China Security and Economic Review Commission as a key component of the Chinese Communist Party’s United Work Front.
The effort, according to the U.S. government report, aims to “to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party.”
“The United Front strategy uses a range of methods to influence overseas Chinese communities, foreign governments, and other actors to take actions or adopt positions supportive of Beijing’s preferred policies,” it continues.
This strategy appears to have been deployed in conjunction with outlets such as CNN, New York Times, and the Washington Post.
Targeting Reporters, Journalism Students.
A 2011 FARA filing highlighted by Axios detailed CUSEF’s agreement with American lobbying firm BLJ. It outlines how CUSEF set out to “effectively disseminate positive messages to the media, key influencers and opinion leaders, and the general public” regarding China.
To do so, CUSEF targeted working journalists and journalist students:
In order to develop favorable coverage in key national media, BLJ will continue to organize and staff “familiarization trips” to China. This includes recruiting top journalists to travel to China, selected for effectiveness and opportunities for favorable coverage.
In 2009 alone, CUSEF generated 28 media placements as a result of its four journalist visits and BLJ secured “the publication of 26 opinion articles and quotes within 103 separate articles” on behalf of CUSEF.
Outlets included Newsweek, the National Journal, the Nation, Congressional Quarterly, U.S. News, World Report, The Chicago Tribune, and the Washington Note.