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DC Radio Station WCRW Taking Millions From China to Spread Propaganda

Jonathan Walker
Jonathan loves talking politics, economics and philosophy. He carries unique perspectives on everything making him a rather odd mix of liberal-conservative with a streak of independent Austrian thought.
Published: December 23, 2021
WCRW radio station spreads CCP propaganda. (Image: pixabay / CC0 1.0)

A radio station operating in Washington D.C. is taking money from Beijing to spread Chinese propaganda in America. The station, WCRW, is owned by Potomac Group and broadcasts content from CCP-backed network CGTN as well as a series of talks that present the communist regime in a positive manner.

According to filings made by the Virginia-based Potomac to the Justice Department, the radio station has received $4.4 million over the past two years for spreading CCP propaganda.

Potomac has signed a contract with the Chinese Communist Party’s International Communication Planning Bureau which acts as the party’s propaganda department. In the filings, the planning bureau, referred to as Party A, is said to have the right to review broadcasts. Potomac is tasked with providing the planning bureau with reports on program feedback, audience reach, evaluation from international organizations, and so on.

“Party A has the right to supervise the implementation of the matters entrusted in this Agreement, including but not limited to the review of the broadcast reports, verification of program broadcasting, appointment of a third party to monitor the broadcast effects of the programs and other patterns of supervision… During the term of this Agreement, Party A has the right to evaluate the broadcast effects of Washington D.C. AMI 190 MW Radio Station on a periodic basis,” the filing states.

Interestingly, Potomac’s ties with China is not something recent. As far back as 1992, Potomac has been airing communist propaganda from Beijing. The $4.4 million payment Potomac received only covers a two-year period between July 2019 and Aug. 2021, during which time it also provided social media promotion for pushing Chinese interests on Americans.

Back in 2015, an investigation conducted by Reuters revealed that WCRW tended to hide China’s negative aspects in its reporting. When foreign ministers of ten countries criticized Beijing for building artificial islands in the contentious waters of the South China Sea that year, the station blamed “external forces” for creating trouble in the region. 

A China-born American citizen James Yantao Su had leased “virtually all the time” on WCRW for over $720,000 a year through his company G&E Studio. A webpage of G&E had called the state-run China Radio International (CRI) a “close” partner. 

In 2008, Su had criticized American media for covering human rights abuses in China, accusing the media of trying to block U.S. citizens from having an objective view of China.

Speaking to Reuters, Su insisted that his radio stations offered Americans an alternative viewpoint on Chinese politics and culture. “We are only telling the unfiltered real news to our audience,” he had stated. 

In addition to WCRW, China spreads propaganda through many other media outlets in the United States. Beijing-backed newspaper China Daily is known to have published content in popular media outlets like Wall Street Journal, Foreign Policy, and Time by paying millions of dollars.