August 6, 2021
Several Chinese Communist Party-linked groups – including the regime’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs – have subsidized trips to China for American journalists in an effort to “enhance” their understanding of U.S.-China relations since the 1990’s, The National Pulse can reveal from recovered webpages deleted by program sponsors.
Among the outlets sending journalists to participate in the trips are The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio (NPR), CNN, Reuters, POLITICO, and more.
The “China-United States Journalism Exchange” is sponsored by the New York-based East-West Center, All-China Journalists Association, and the Better Hong Kong Foundation. Inaugurated in 2010, the program expanded upon a 1996 initaitive “supported” by the Chinese Communist Party’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs that granted free trips to China for journalists from mainstream American media outlets.
The effort is closely tied to the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), a foreign influence group operating under the Chinese government’s United Work Front Department.
The United Front, according to the U.S.-China Security and Economic Review Commission, aims “to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition” to the Chinese regime and “influence foreign governments and other actors to take actions or adopt positions supportive of Beijing’s preferred policies.”
In practice, CUSEF has sponsored trips to China for mainstream corporate media outlets in exchange for “favorable coverage.” As revealed through Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA) filings with the Department of Justice, the group’s explicit goal of the trips is to “effectively disseminate positive messages to the media, key influencers, and opinion leaders, and the general public.”
Sponsors of the “China-United States Journalism Exchange” are also closely tied to CUSEF, as American journalists participating in the trips have also repeatedly met with CUSEF Founding Chairman Tung Chee-Hwa.
Members of CUSEF’s Board of Governors – including Ronnie Chan and Daniel Fung – are also on the board of the East-West Center, which has hosted CUSEF’s Tung as a keynote speaker. Chan is also the Chairman of the Executive Committee for another program sponsor: the Better Hong Kong Foundation.
Details surrounding program participants, sponsors, and activities were wiped from the East-West Center’s website in late 2017.
The now-deleted program description explains how a cohort of American journalists travel to China and a Chinese Communist Party-run media cohort travels America before meeting to “exchange opinions on how media coverage of each country can be improved”:
The Chinese participants visit Washington D.C. and one to two other cities in the U.S. while the American journalists will visit Beijing, another mainland China city and Hong Kong. Following these study tours, all Chinese and American journalists meet for a 2-day dialogue to share their travel experiences and observations and to exchange opinions on how media coverage of each country can be improved.
The trips are subsidized by the aforementioned Chinese Communist Party-linked sponsors:
The program covers all air transportation, lodging, and program-related ground transportation and meals for participating journalists.
Deleted webpages from the East-West Center documenting the 2011 delegation reveal American journalists “enhanc[ing] their understanding on US-China relations” from lectures by Chinese Communist Party officials:
In China, the Americans explored how China’s 12th Five-Year Plan is impacting China’s economic and social development; helping meet its ambition to become a “moderately wealthy” nation; and improving the standard of living for the vast majority of its citizens over the next five years. They were surprised and impressed by Ningbo’s wealth, technology, rapid pace of development and massive infrastructure and construction projects, including a new port city. […] In Beijing, they met with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Commerce and with academics to enhance their understanding on US-China relations
Other deleted webpages reveal that high-level editors from state-run Chinese outlets – including the Deputy Director of the People’s Liberation Army Daily paper – comprising the delegations.
The following lists identify the journalists – from outlets including The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio (NPR), CNN, and Reuters – participating in the trips.
Mr. Rob Ballenger, Swing Editor/Producer, National Public Radio, Washington, DCMs.
Ms. Patrice Hill, Chief Economic Correspondent, Washington Times, Washington, DC
Mr. Joe Schatz, Senior Writer, Congressional Quarterly, Washington, DC
Mr. Kopin Tan, Senior Editor, Barron’s Magazine, New York, New York
Mr. David Whiting, Page One Columnist, The Orange County Register, Santa Ana, California
Mrs. Roya Wolverson, Senior Writer, Time Magazine, New York, New York
Ms. Holly Yeager, Middle East and Asia Editor, The Washington Post, Washington, DC
Mr. Nathan Bomey, Reporter, Detroit Free Press, Detroit, Michigan
Ms. Autumn Brewington, Op-Ed Page Editor, The Washington Post, Washington, DC
Ms. Janet Cho, Business Reporter, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Ohio
Ms. Juliet Lapidos, Staff Editor, The New York Times, New York City, New York
Mr. Tom Weseleski, Editorial Page Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Mr. Saeed Ahmed, Supervising News Editor, CNN Digital, Atlanta, GA
Mr. Kevin Beesley, Asia Editor, National Public Radio, Washington DC
Mr. Joshua Keating, Staff Writer, Slate Magazine, Washington DC
Ms. Valerie Volcovici, Correspondent, Reuters, Washington DC
Mr. Brian Wingfifeld, Energy/Trade Reporter, Bloomberg News, Washington DC
Mr. Alan Wirzbicki, Editorial Page Writer and Editor, Boston Globe, Boston, MA
Ms. Diane Bartz, Reporter, Reuters News Agency, Washington, DC
Ms. Rebecca Davis, Senior Video Producer, NBC News, New York, New York
Mr. Marc Stewart, Reporter/Substitute Anchor, KMGH-TV ABC 7 News, Denver, Colorado
Mr. Stephen Stromberg, Editorial Writer, The Washington Post, Washington DC
Mr. Alexander Travelli, Asia Online Editor, The Economist, New Delhi, India
Mr. Daniel Beekman, Reporter, Seattle Times, Washington
Mr. Andy Curliss, State Government Editor, The News & Observer, North Carolina
Ms. Carrie Halperin, Producer at Fareed Zakaria GPS, CNN, New York
Ms. Lomi Kriel, Reporter, The Houston Chronicle, Texas
Mr. Robert Little, Senior Investigative Editor, National Public Radio (NPR), Washington DC
Ms. Sandra Ward, Senior Editor, Barron’s, New York
Mr. Jesus Ayala, Producer, ABC News, Glendale, California
Mr. Jake Heller, Producer and Host, NBC News, New York, New York
Ms. Elizabeth Jones, Reporter, KUOW Public Radio, Seattle, Washington
Mr. Don Lee, Economics Reporter, Los Angeles Times (Tribune Washington Bureau), Washington, DC
Ms. Elizabeth Ralph, Deputy Editor, Politico Magazine, Arlington, Virginia
Ms. Jessica Schulberg, Foreign Affairs Reporter, Huffington Post, Washington, DC