Free Tibet launches petition calling for The Economist and Wall Street Journal to drop Chinese government material

The Economist Logo.
16th April 2020

Free Tibet has launched a petition calling for The Economist and Wall Street Journal (WSJ) to drop paid-for propaganda sections published on behalf of Chinese state media which have appeared in both publications. 

The petition comes two days after The Guardian reported The Daily Telegraph has stopped publishing its China Watch advertising, which consists of content created by Chinese Communist Party media organisation China Daily and is designed to promote the CCP’s image abroad.

Free Tibet’s petition invites the public to send a message to the editors of The Economist and WSJ asking them to follow The Telegraph and confirm they will both stop publishing the material. 

The Economist still runs an “advertising feature” on its website hosting content from Chinese media organisation the Beijing Review. While in recent years the WSJ has been running a China Watch section like the one seen in The Telegraph, although this has not been updated for weeks.

“The paid content in these supplements is nothing more than a deliberate attempt by the... CCP to promote its activities to an international audience, and deflect attention from its human rights abuses,” Free Tibet’s petition said.

“Let’s say NO to the spread of CCP propaganda. Contact the editors of The Wall Street Journal and The Economist, urging them to take action,” it added.

The Economist most recently ran a Beijing Review advertorial titled "A Shot of Confidence", which praised Xi Jinping's leadership and the CCP's response to the Coronavirus outbreak.

On its own website, the Beijing Review has published an article on the Uyghur region titled “Training centres in Xinjiang offer hope.” It talks about the benefits of the forced reeducation camps where an estimated one to two million Uigurs have been detained.

“Vocational education and training in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region are giving the younger generation there the "hope of life", according to Jayanath Colombage, Director-General of the Institute of National Security Studies of Sri Lanka” the Beijing Review article said.

It quoted Colombage who said, "When I went to education training centers, what I saw is that young people there now have the hope of life… They told us earlier on they didn't have any hope because they didn't have good education or good skills, so they were easily led by extremist ideology."

The Beijing Review has also run reports about Tibet under the headline “ Democratic Reform in Tibet: 60 Years On”. News updates include “Tibet's Least Habitable Region Lifts Over 16,000 Out of Poverty”and “Tibet Embraces New Opportunities Brought by Belt and Road Initiative.”

Free Tibet’s petition to The Economist and WSJ can be found here.

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