Rep. Jim Banks want to know why China Daily, a newspaper owned and paid for by the Chinese Communist Party, is delivered routinely to House and Senate offices alongside independent papers like Roll Call, Politico and The Washington Post.
The Indiana Republican wrote a letter to the House Chief Administrative Officer, Philip Kiko, requesting information on the process for how publications are distributed on Capitol Hill and for the CAO to take action.
“I write to ask for your assistance in combatting the proliferation of Chinese-state propaganda in the United States’ Congress,” wrote Banks.
China Daily is a state-run media outlet and registered foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. Because of such attributes, the congressional press galleries do not credential China Daily employees to work in the Capitol.
The letter outlines China Daily’s roots as an international messaging tool for the Communist Party, its funding by the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China and its spreading of disinformation.
Banks asked Kiko for a list of all state-owned publications currently distributed to congressional offices, and publications that the National News Agency delivers to Capitol Hill.
“I’m certain you are personally opposed to the foreign agitprop like the China Daily. So, there must be a legal or administrative roadblock preventing the removal of state-supported propaganda from congressional circulation,” wrote Banks. “Please include it in your explanation. Is there any legislative action I could take which would allow you to overcome this obstacle?”
Banks raised the concern that the continued presence of China Daily in Congress undermines the foreign policy efforts of the U.S. government relating to China.
“There’s a lot of rhetoric in Congress about ‘combatting Chinese influence’ and being ‘tough on China.’ Americans won’t take our claims seriously if we can’t prevent China from running a propaganda campaign in our own workplace,” wrote Banks.
Banks’ office told CQ Roll Call on Monday evening that Kiko had thanked the lawmaker for the letter and told him he’d “get on this.”
Banks also sent his letter to the Justice Department and the president of the National News Agency, an outside newspaper distribution company that delivers to Capitol Hill.