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May, 27

New York Times: NYT probe unearths links between Chinese propaganda in India & abroad to millionaire

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A New York Times investigation has lifted the lid off what the US daily calls a “lavishly funded influence campaign that defends China and pushes its propaganda” across the world and that has linkages even in India.

04:27

Chinese Media Funding Scandal: NYT investigation report exposes Chinese propaganda machinery in India & abroad

According to NYT, at the heart of this campaign “is a charismatic American millionaire, Neville Roy Singham, who is known as a socialist benefactor of far-left causes.” The investigation shows how “from a thinktank in Massachusetts to an event space in Manhattan, from a political party in South Africa to news organisations in India and Brazil” Singham is working closely with the Chinese government and “financing its propaganda worldwide”.

The US daily said speculation about Singham first emerged on Twitter among self-described anti-fascists. They were followed by reports in publications such as New Lines and the South African investigative outlet amaBhungane. The daily said authorities in India raided a news organisation tied to Singham accusing it of having ties to the Chinese government.
“In New Delhi, corporate filings show, Mr Singham’s network financed a news site, NewsClick, that sprinkled its coverage with Chinese government talking points. ‘China’s history continues to inspire the working classes,’ one video said.” TOI had earlier reported that Indian agencies were investigating links between Singham and NewsClick.
The NYT says it has tracked “hundreds of millions of dollars” to groups linked to Singham that mix “progressive advocacy with Chinese government talking points.” The daily said neutral sounding groups, like No Cold War, popped up in recent years and others, like the US antiwar group Code Pink, co-founded by Singham’s wife Jodie Evans, have morphed over time. From being critical of China’s rights record, Code Pink now defends the internment of Muslim Uighurs.
These groups are funded through American nonprofits flush with at least $275 million in donations. The NYT investigation “untangled the web of charities and shell companies using nonprofit and corporate filings, internal documents and interviews with over two dozen former employees of groups linked to Singham.”
The NYT quoted Singham saying he does not work at the behest of the Chinese government. But the investigation found that the line between him and the propaganda apparatus is so blurry that he shares office space – and his groups share staff members – with a company whose goal is to educate foreigners about “the miracles that China has created on the world stage.”
NYT says Singham’s groups have produced YouTube videos that, together have racked up millions of views. “They also seek to influence real-world politics by meeting with congressional aides, training politicians in Africa, running candidates in South African elections and organising protests like the one in London that erupted into violence.”
According to the daily, Singham and his allies are on the frontline of what Communist Party officials call a “smokeless war.” “Under the rule of Xi Jinping, China has expanded state media operations, teamed up with overseas outlets and cultivated foreign influencers. The goal is to disguise propaganda as independent content,” the daily summarised.





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