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Iconic American Magazine Fails To Disclose CCP Funding in Latest Print Edition

Time magazine has taken more than $700,000 from China Daily for sponsored content

Screenshot / Time
• July 1, 2021 4:59 am

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Time magazine failed to disclose Chinese government funding for content published in its most recent print edition.

The magazine's June 21-28 double issue included an insert from China Daily, a media outlet controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. Disclosures on the insert label it as an advertisement from China Daily in Beijing and note that additional "information is on file with the DOJ, Washington DC." Chinese government funding for China Daily is not mentioned. China Daily registers with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act, a law aimed at tracking foreign government influence.

Advocacy groups have criticized news outlets for partnering with China Daily out of concerns that the organization is spreading propaganda in the West. Some companies, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, have ended content-sharing deals with China Daily because it is controlled by the Chinese government. The outlet has paid millions of dollars to publish content in Western magazines' and newspapers' print and online editions.

Time began working with China Daily last year. Foreign-agent disclosures filed by China Daily in May show the outlet paid Time $700,000 over the past six months, by far the highest outlay to any American news company. In addition to the print inserts, the magazine publishes sponsored China Daily content on its website, which also does not acknowledge Chinese government funding.

Much of the China Daily content does not appear to be aggressive Chinese propaganda, with many of the articles portraying life in China and Chinese culture in a positive light. But some of the paid China Daily content has drawn criticism from advocacy groups because of its clear political agenda.

Time published one China Daily article last December that touted drones made by a company called DJI for use in agriculture. The article appeared days after the Trump administration placed DJI on a trade blacklist out of concerns that the company's drones posed a national security threat to the U.S.

China Daily also sponsored content in the Financial Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Foreign Policy magazine, according to foreign agent disclosures. Two Tibetan advocacy groups criticized Foreign Policy over a series of China Daily articles last month that touted Communist Party policies in Tibet. The International Campaign for Tibet called the articles an "affront" to Tibetans who oppose Communist Party rule.

Time has not responded to repeated requests for comment about its partnership with China Daily.