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China Dominates Europe’s Chinese-Language Media Landscape

August 11th, 2021 15:30

Sinop­sis, a Czech web­site cov­er­ing Chi­nese pol­i­tics, has pub­lished a report exam­in­ing China’s media oper­a­tions in Europe, argu­ing that China’s dom­i­nance of Europe’s Chi­nese-lan­guage media land­scape pos­es chal­lenges for Euro­pean insti­tu­tions. Accord­ing to Sinop­sis’ pol­i­cy brief:

July 30, 2021 The Euro­pean oper­a­tions of the Chi­na News Ser­vice (CNS), the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty (CCP) unit­ed front system’s main pro­pa­gan­da agency, and its exten­sive net­work of media out­lets in the con­ti­nent have so far large­ly escaped the scruti­ny applied to oth­er pro­pa­gan­da organs. The CNS network’s dom­i­nance of Europe’s Chi­nese-lan­guage media land­scape pos­es chal­lenges for Euro­pean insti­tu­tions. CNS coor­di­nates a glob­al net­work of osten­si­bly pri­vate, inde­pen­dent dias­po­ra media groups that help inject CCP pro­pa­gan­da nar­ra­tives into both Chi­nese dias­po­ra and local main­stream dis­course. While these enti­ties avoid the pub­lic sus­pi­cion PRC for­eign-lan­guage media have aroused, they have been more suc­cess­ful in dom­i­nat­ing part of Europe’s infor­ma­tion land­scape. […] Evi­dence sug­gests that at least some CCP-coopt­ed media in Europe may be polit­i­cal, rather than com­mer­cial enter­pris­es, rely­ing on cap­i­tal injec­tions from their own­ers or the par­ty-state to con­tin­ue operating.

Read the full report here.

The report rec­om­mends that to counter Chi­nese pro­pa­gan­da efforts, EU insti­tu­tions and gov­ern­ments should estab­lish a scheme requir­ing for­eign influ­ence agen­cies to reg­is­ter, media reg­u­la­to­ry author­i­ties should proac­tive­ly screen media orga­ni­za­tions, media orga­ni­za­tions should cease all coop­er­a­tion with the Chi­na News Ser­vice (CNS) and its net­work, and Euro­pean gov­ern­ments should sup­port gen­uine­ly inde­pen­dent Chi­nese dias­po­ra media with­out links to CCP influ­ence organs.

Recent GIOR cov­er­age of China’s media oper­a­tions in Europe has included:

  • In July, we report­ed about a NATO paper iden­ti­fy­ing Chi­nese media out­lets linked to its unit­ed front work.
  • In May, we report­ed that Chi­na is laun­der­ing its pro­pa­gan­da in the Czech Repub­lic through local ‘alter­na­tive media’ dis­in­for­ma­tion outlets.
  • In May, we report­ed that Chi­na is expand­ing its influ­ence in Ger­many through deals with Ger­man pub­lish­ers and the laun­der­ing of Chi­nese pro­pa­gan­da through local TV productions.
  • In April, we report­ed that China’s state pro­pa­gan­da appa­ra­tus is expand­ing its influ­ence among for­eign audi­ences through adver­to­r­i­al inserts in West­ern main­stream media outlets.