Thursday, March 9, 2023

Semafor Slammed for Partnering With Chinese Think Tank

Here is more from Axios:

Semafor, the 5-month-old news startup, is drawing criticism in the U.S. for partnering with a think tank in China that is known to have close ties to the Chinese Communist Party. The group has in the past obscured those ties to Western audiences.

Why it matters: The collaboration is notable because the organization Semafor is partnering with — and its leader — has a track record of misleading Western audiences about its affiliation with the CCP.

What's happening: Semafor last week announced a new initiative called “China and Global Business” to serve as a platform for business leaders to discuss U.S.-China relations.

  • The partnership has been developed with a group called the Center for China and Globalization (CCG). The center's founder and director, Wang Huiyao, sits on the board of Semafor's initiative.
  • Semafor published a blog post Sunday evening with details about the partnership. The platform "will be exclusively underwritten by corporate partnerships with no financial contributions from our local Chinese partners or the Chinese government," CEO Justin Smith wrote. Smith is the former CEO of Bloomberg Media. Under his tenure, Bloomberg struck a partnership with another Chinese think tank that helped the company put on a marquee event in China.


Axios notes that CCG claims to be independent but was founded under the auspices of the Western Returned Scholars Organization.  "That group is directed by the United Front Work Department (UFWD), a bureau of the Chinese Communist Party focused on amplifying support for the party and marginalizing dissent."

Here is what Fox News had to say about Semafor's partnership.

CCG is based in Beijing and was founded by Dr. Henry Huiyao Wang and Dr. Mable Lu Miao in 2008.

Wang dropped out of an event at the Wilson Center back in 2018 after Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) wrote to them about Wang's affiliation with the United Front.