Beijing-Linked Group Tries to Sway US Media With Reporter Trips, Dinners With Execs

A group tied to Beijing has organized trips to China for more than 120 journalists from almost 50 U.S. media outlets since 2009, as part of a broad campaign to deepen the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) influence in the United States.

Called the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), the group is a Hong Kong-based nonprofit headed by billionaire Tung Chee-hwa, a Chinese regime official. Tung was formerly the Chief Executive (top government leader) of Hong Kong and is currently a vice-chairman of the CCP’s political advisory body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. CUSEF is registered as a “foreign principal” under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

FARA filings reveal how the group has tried to sway media coverage and shape public opinion in the United States.

Alongside trips for journalists, the group has organized trips for current and former lawmakers, courted media executives from major publications via private dinners, and aimed to cultivate a group of “third party supporters” in the United States to generate positive opinion articles on China that would appear in Western media outlets.

The activities offer a glimpse into the CCP’s sprawling efforts to influence public perceptions and sway elite opinion in Western democracies, in an effort to persuade governments to adopt policies in tune with Beijing’s agenda. The goal of this campaign, dubbed “United Front work” by the Party, is to “make Americans receptive to Beijing’s form of authoritarianism,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a speech last October. Read more…

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