In recent years, many well-known newspapers in Western countries have distributed content edited and produced by China Daily, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) state-run English-language newspaper, as a supplement to their daily papers. Recently, the Süddeutsche Zeitung, one of the largest daily newspapers in Germany, has stopped distributing the CCP supplement, often regarded as propaganda to influence the free world with the regime’s agenda.
The Office of Foreign Propaganda within the CCP’s Propaganda Department is geared toward foreigners in China, the outside world, and overseas Chinese. “China has been remarkably successful in recent years at gaining dominant influence over foreign-based Chinese-language schools; newspapers; social, sporting, and commercial groups; television and radio stations; indeed any grouping of Chinese outside China,” according to the book “Marketing Dictatorship: Propaganda and Thought Work in Contemporary China,” by Anne-Marie Brady.
Kai Müller, Germany’s executive director of advocacy group, International Campaign for Tibet (ICT), published an ICT blog post on May 16 to praise the German newspaper’s decision.
“It is absolutely worthy of praises,” Müller wrote. “Other newspapers and magazines should also follow the example of the Süddeutsche Zeitung, stopping the advertising cooperation with the [CCP’s] propaganda organization because it is not only the propaganda mouthpiece of the one-party authoritarian regime, but also part of its oppression tool.”
“It’s time to expose the truth of this cooperation: they [media companies] are selling the credibility of their news,” Müller wrote.
Müller told the Chinese version of Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s public radio broadcaster on May 19 that ICT and the International Federation for Human Rights wrote a letter to Le Figaro, a French daily morning newspaper founded in 1826 and published in Paris, to stop distributing the CCP’s propaganda material via a newspaper supplement published by China Daily, called China Watch.
The Süddeutsche Zeitung did not reply to DW’s inquiries of whether it has temporarily or permanently discontinued the China Daily supplement, or why it decided to recently stop distributing them, said DW.
Other internationally renowned newspapers that distribute China Watch supplements include the Washington Post, The New York Times, British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, and Handelsblatt, a leading German-language business newspaper published in Düsseldorf, Germany, according to DW.
A February report published by the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS), a Berlin-based institute for research on China, found that one of the primary means that the CCP uses to influence Western public opinion is through this supplement, China Watch.
The research shows getting Western media to run its propaganda piece is one of the CCP’s attempts to expand its influence globally.
“Using other countries’ traditional media is an effective method, especially for local readers,” according to the report. “These media have stronger public credibility than Chinese media.”
China Daily pays advertising fees for Western newspapers to distribute its content as supplements.
According to a 2016 BBC report, citing analysis by scholar David Shambaugh at George Washington University, the Chinese regime’s annual budget for spreading propaganda overseas is estimated to be $10 billion.