China is paying American social media influencers to promote the Beijing Olympics and tout U.S.-China cooperation on climate change, according to government filings.
The Chinese consulate in New York City hired the public relations firm Vippi Media to run the influence campaign, according to disclosures filed with the Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. For $300,000, Vippi Media will hire prominent Instagram, TikTok, and Twitch users to tout the games and promote China-U.S. cooperation on issues like climate change, the contract says. The firm’s founder, Vipp Jaswal, tells the Washington Free Beacon he has not yet chosen the influencers to be used for the campaign.
China is waging the social media blitz amid growing threats to boycott the games. The United States, Canada, and Australia this month announced a diplomatic boycott over China’s human rights abuses and the recent disappearance of a Chinese tennis star who accused a Communist Party official of rape. Human rights groups have asked NBC and other TV broadcasters not to air the Beijing Olympics, which begin Feb. 4. American companies—Coca-Cola, Visa, Intel, and others—also face pressure to pull out of sponsorship deals for the games. Jaswal opposes the boycott, which he says would have “no impact” on China’s behavior and will only “aggravate” Beijing.