Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and the Federal Communications Commission are taking action to thwart the spread of Chinese propaganda in the United States.
What is Cruz doing?
Cruz plans to introduce legislation that would stop the Chinese Communist Party from exploiting a loophole that has allowed them to broadcast propaganda into the U.S. through a radio station connected to Beijing.
Cruz's bill, the first of its kind, was sparked by the purchase of a radio station connected to Phoenix TV—an outlet owned by the Chinese government—that is now using a broadcast tower in Mexico to beam Chinese-language propaganda into the United States.
Phoenix TV has used Mexican radio towers to skirt U.S. laws barring the dissemination of foreign propaganda in America and broadcast state propaganda throughout Southern California, sources said.
Specifically, Cruz's law would close loopholes by banning the FCC from granting licenses to companies and individuals who intend to change their broadcast language.
In the case of Phoenix TV, they changed their broadcast language to Chinese after obtaining a temporary FCC license.
"China should not be able to set up shop in Mexico and blanket America with propaganda. Every year, the [Chinese Communist Party] spends billions of dollars purchasing news outlets and waging information warfare to extend the reach of its propaganda and whitewash the unflattering and politically inconvenient truths about its totalitarian regime," Cruz told the Free Beacon.
What is the FCC doing?
On Friday, the FCC issued "Show Cause Orders" to four telecom companies with connections to "the communist regime in China." The orders "provide the carriers with 30 days to explain why the FCC should not initiate proceedings to revoke their authority to operate in the U.S."
The four companies are:
- China Telecom Americas
- China Unicom Americas
- Pacific Networks
FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said in a statement:
Over the past few weeks, Americans have learned that they no longer need to page through dusty foreign policy magazines to understand the consequences that flow from communist China's brutal crackdown on freedom and free speech. The communist party's silencing of critics and its disappearance of hero doctors and citizen journalists exacerbated the global spread of Covid-19. Americans are now experiencing the consequences of those oppressive actions in their own lives—whether in the loss of their jobs or their kids not being able to attend school due to Covid-19.
Since communist China is willing to disappear its own people to advance the regime's geopolitical agenda, it is appropriate for the FCC to closely scrutinize telecom carriers with ties to that regime. This is a prudent step to ensure the security of America's telecom networks. In the Show Cause orders issued today, we give carriers 30 days to explain why the FCC should not initiate proceedings to revoke their authority. They now have the opportunity to provide evidence showing that they are not subject to the exploitation, influence, and control of the Chinese government such that we should not look to revoke their authority to operate in the U.S. I look forward to reviewing the record that develops and reaching a final decision on those key issues.
Shutting down Chinese propaganda is becoming an increasingly critical issue as the Chinese Communist Party tries to shift blame for the coronavirus pandemic onto the U.S.
Update: The name of the Chinese Communist Party has been corrected in this story.