By Eva Fu

The Chinese regime paid almost $4.4 million to a Washington-based radio station to broadcast propaganda to American households, new federal disclosures show.

CGTN, the global arm for China’s state-run broadcaster CCTV, has paid $4.35 million since July 2019 to WCRW, a daytime radio station covering Washington, Virginia, and Maryland, to broadcast its content for 12 hours each day.

Little known to the listeners is that Beijing controls much of what goes on air. An agreement signed last July—and revealed in a filing with the Justice Department last week—bars the radio station from altering or shortening CGTN’s program content, or inserting advertisements without express permission from the Chinese partner. The contract was between WCRW and the International Communication Planning Bureau, a body overseen by the Chinese regime’s Propaganda Department.

Under the deal, the bureau receives quarterly performance data from the radio network’s owner, Virginia-based Potomac Radio Group, according to the filing, first reported by the Washington Free Beacon. Such reports include audience feedback and “evaluation from international organizations,” which the contract did not specify. The bureau can also appoint a third party to monitor the broadcast effects and conduct evaluations on a periodic basis.

The WCRW did not respond to media inquiries from The Epoch Times by press time.

WCRW’s website says that it has broadcast China Radio International, another major state-run Chinese international radio broadcaster, from Washington since 1992.

Potomac Media’s registration as a foreign agent comes as Washington becomes increasingly wary of Chinese propaganda activities in America.

Epoch Times Photo
A China Daily newspaper box is with other free daily papers in New York, on Jan. 20, 2021. (Chung I Ho/The Epoch Times)

China Daily, an English-language Chinese state-owned newspaper, paid millions in 2021 to major Western outlets, such as Foreign Policy and Financial Times and publishing agencies, to disseminate its content. The Chinese consulate also recently entered into a contract to hire dozens of social media influencers through an intermediary company in New Jersey, as part of a marketing blitz through March to promote Beijing’s upcoming Winter Olympic Games.

CGTN has suffered a string of setbacks in multiple countries in recent years.

British officials in February revoked the television outlet’s broadcast license in the U.K., saying that the license was held by an entity that has no editorial control over the programs they show. The British broadcast regulator later handed CGTN two fines totaling around $273,000 for two programs that contained forced confessions.

Epoch Times Photo
Peng Shuai and Zhang Shuai of China during their Women’s Doubles first round match against Veronika Kudermetova of Russia and Alison Riske of the United States on day four of the 2020 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on Jan. 23, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The Chinese broadcaster has recently stirred controversy by releasing an email attributed to Peng Shuai, the Chinese tennis player whose safety had been questioned since she made a sexual assault claim against a former high-ranking Chinese official.

The email released by CGTN on Twitter showed Peng purportedly recanting the allegations, claiming: “I’ve just been resting at home and everything is fine,” although many observers have questioned its authenticity, pointing to a typing cursor in the email screenshot.

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At the time, Peng had disappeared from public view following the allegations, stirring international concern for her safety. In response, CGTN and other Chinese state-run media released videos and statements purporting that the tennis star was doing fine, only to fuel even more concern.

Peng has since made public appearances, and in a Dec. 19 interview with a pro-Beijing Singaporean media walked back on her claims, but concerns about her safety have not lessened.

By don

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