Georgia Democratic Senate hopeful Jon Ossoff promoted a Chinese state-run media outlet that has rebuffed U.S. lawmakers' demands to register as a foreign agent.
Months after leaving Rep. Hank Johnson's (D., Ga.) office—where he spent five months serving as a "national security aide" with top-secret clearance—in August 2012, Ossoff urged his Twitter followers to read Xinhua News Agency, a Chinese Communist Party-run propaganda organ.
"Esp. during 18th Party Congress, #follow @XHNews (Xinhua – Chinese state media)," Ossoff wrote.
The Democrat has struggled to fend off GOP senator David Perdue's criticism of his ties to China. In July, Ossoff quietly disclosed receiving a payment from a Chinese-backed media giant, but has since refused to release private financial information from his foreign film company, Insight TWI. In addition, Ossoff's father—who has bankrolled the Democrat's political career—met with Chinese "dignitaries" after commissioning a 60-foot yacht from a China-based shipbuilder tied to Communist Party Officials.
The Ossoff campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
— Jon Ossoff (@ossoff) November 8, 2012
Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is the largest media outlet in China and serves as the communist nation's primary state-run mouthpiece, though it boasts that it will never "yield to the pressure of ideological stigmatization and political bias" in its Twitter bio. The outlet was chastised by U.S. lawmakers in January after paying the social media giant to promote posts that attacked pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
"Two months on, the escalating violence in Hong Kong has taken a heavy toll on the social order," one such post read. "Hong Kong residents have called for order to be restored."
Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.) responded by asking then-Attorney General William Barr to investigate Xinhua News Agency, noting that the outlet rebuffed a 2018 Justice Department order to register as a foreign agent. The Trump administration's order followed a bipartisan appeal from senators Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.).
While another Chinese state-run outlet—China Global Television Network—went on to register as a foreign agent in February 2019, Xinhua News Agency has thus far refused. A Washington Free Beacon review of U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act filings shows that the outlet has yet to register as a foreign agent.
Ossoff came under fire for misrepresenting his time working in Johnson's office during his failed 2017 congressional campaign. While the Democrat claimed that he spent five years as a "national security aide with top-secret clearance," Ossoff later admitted that he worked full-time for Johnson for just two years and held top-secret clearance for only five months.
Ossoff will face Perdue in Georgia's January 5 runoff election.