The National Basketball Association (NBA) confirmed in a letter to a member of Congress that it is in the midst of “ongoing business discussions” with a television network that is operated by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
In a letter sent to Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) on March 30th, NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum explained that the organization is negotiating with China Central Television (CCTV), which is the leading television network for CCP propaganda. Although the NBA has not yet finalized a deal for the 2021, Tatum said that an “active role” is being played in the negotiations by Michael Ma, the CEO of NBA China, whose father once served as a lead executive for CCTV’s sports division.
CCTV specializes in airing pro-CCP propaganda, including forced confessions of political dissidents such as journalists and human rights activists, while also negatively covering the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong by comparing them to the Islamic terror group ISIS. It has also described Chinese-run concentration camps for Uyghur Muslims as “vocational centers.”
A Hong Kong-based think tank suspected of working as a front group for the Chinese Communist Party has cultivated close ties to Historically Black Colleges and Universities and members of the Congressional Black Caucus since 2014.
The China-U.S. Exchange Foundation’s (CUSEF) outreach to the black community is part of a broad initiative to cozy up to prominent organizations in the U.S., including foreign policy think tanks and other elite universities.
CUSEF’s activities have drawn the attention of CIA Director William Burns, who testified at his Senate confirmation hearing last month that he cut ties with CUSEF when he was president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace out of concern over “Chinese influence operations.”
One of China Global Television Network’s most recent ads on Facebook is of an interview that the state-controlled propaganda network conducted about the coronavirus pandemic with the editor of The Lancet, one of the world’s top medical journals.
The editor, Richard Horton, largely praised the Chinese government’s response to the pandemic while blasting the U.S. in the May 2020 interview, which garnered around 900,000 impressions at a cost of around $500, according to Facebook data.
“I think we have a great deal to thank China for, about the way that it handled the outbreak,” Horton said in the interview.
FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before Congress earlier this year that Confucius institutes on American university campuses are a threat to national security. In the wake of that testimony, more than 15 of them have closed their doors.