Government filings have revealed that the Chinese government is contracting with American social media influencers to promote the upcoming Beijing Olympics and China’s cooperation with the US government on climate change. The revelation comes amid official boycotts at different levels by countries, including the US.
China’s diplomatic consulate in New York City hired Vippi Media, an American public relations firm, to handle the campaign. The contract will pay Vippi at least $300,000 to bring on significant uses on TikTok, Instagram, Twitch, and other platforms to promote China’s image and the games. The arrangement was described in federal disclosures made under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.
Vipp Jaswall, founder and owner of Vippi Media, told the Washington Free Beacon that the firm has not yet selected the social media influencers who will be part of the public relations campaign.
The boycotts announced so far by the US, Canada, and Australia are described as “diplomatic” boycotts related to China’s long record of human rights violations. The recent disclosure of the disappearance of a prominent Chinese women’s tennis player has brought the spotlight back on China’s abuses. The tennis star’s disappearance followed her allegation that she was raped by an official of the Chinese Communist Party.
The diplomatic boycotts of the Beijing Olympics would allow athletes to attend the games but would mean that diplomatic officials would not be sent to China for the games. American and international human rights organizations have asked NBC not to broadcast the games as planned and have also pressured major corporate sponsors like Coca-Cola and Visa to pull their sponsorships from the games and broadcasts.
China’s American social media campaign appears to be breaking new territory for the communist regime’s propaganda efforts. China has become much more involved in promoting a positive image internationally as scrutiny grows regarding the nation’s alleged abuse of its Uyghur population and its work to obscure the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chinese government has reportedly paid millions of dollars to various American print media outlets to present a pro-China image. The new social media contract calls for a group of eight social media influencers to produce at least 24 favorable posts about the Olympic Games and China’s relations to the US government.