Democratic Congressional Hopeful Paid Thousands To Chinese Foreign Agent

A Democrat running for Congress in California’s Silicon Valley paid a Chinese foreign agent for advertising, Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show.

Evan Low, a California assemblyman running for Congress in the state’s 16th Congressional District, paid roughly $5,000 to Sing Tao Newspapers for print advertisements in February, according to a FEC filing. The Department of Justice (DOJ) ordered Sing Tao U.S., which is Chinese-owned and distributes papers in California, to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in 2021.

FARA requires any individual or organization engaging in political activities on behalf of a foreign entity to register with the federal government and to make periodic public reports, according to the DOJ. The law defines political activity as “any activity that the person engaging in believes will, or that the person intends to, in any way influence any agency or official of the Government of the United States or any section of the public within the United States.”

Sing Tao’s coverage in China has been characterized as pro-Chinese Communist Party (CCP), according to The New York Times. The paper published an editorial arguing that police should curb the demonstrations during 2014 anti-government protests in Hong Kong by using a “gun powder keg.” (RELATED: Chinese Billionaire Convicted Of Illegal Campaign Donations Gets Time Served, Leaves US)

Sources familiar with Chinese media have linked Sing Tao to the CCP, according to Radio Free Asia, a U.S.-government-funded news outlet. Radio Free Asia also found that two of the company’s directors had served on the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which serves as an advisory body to China’s National People’s Congress.

At least five of Sing Tao’s seven board members belong to organizations that are part of the CCP’s “united front” political influence network, according to Newsweek.

Sing Tao has disputed its status as a foreign agent, and Robin Mui, Sing Tao U.S. CEO, said the news corporation had to register due to an investor’s involvement in the Chinese realty business, Newsweek reported.

Low met with the consul general of the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco in 2017 while serving as an assemblyman, according to the Chinese consulate. The two discussed strengthening communication between the Chinese government at the California State Assembly and promoting cooperation between California and China.

The consul general expressed his hope that Low would “continue to play a constructive role” in building relations with China, according to the consulate. Low at the time was “willing to establish close communication with the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco and create more bilateral cooperation platforms, so as to actively energize the mutual beneficial cooperation between California and China,” the consulate reported.

Low has attracted a number of high-profile endorsements for his campaign, including Democratic California Sen. Laphonza Butler, CNN commentator Van Jones, California Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis, California State Treasurer Fiona Ma and Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna, among other Californian House members.

Low advanced in his district’s open primary in March and will face off against fellow Democrat Sam Liccardo in November’s general election. The seat opened after Democratic Rep. Anna Eshoo announced her retirement in November 2023.

Sing Tao has received payments from other congressional campaigns. Democratic New York Rep. Tom Souzzi paid over $7,200 to the publication for ads in February, the Washington Examiner reported.

Souzzi told the Examiner that he “unknowingly” advertised with the Chinese foreign agent.

Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Republican New York Rep. Nicole Malliotakis made payments to Sing Tao, as well, according to the Examiner.

Sing Tao and the Low campaign did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s requests for comment.

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