Federally funded PBS affiliates are airing a pro-China documentary produced in conjunction with a media company controlled by the Chinese-government, according to a recent report.
According to a report from the Daily Caller News Foundation, the film “Voices from the Frontline: China’s War on Poverty” praises Chinese President Xi Jinping’s initiative to alleviate poverty in China.
“In the last forty years, China’s economic development has lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty,” the script for the film reads.
“To President Xi Jinping, ending poverty is his most important task.”
Media company CGTN is registered as a foreign agent with the Justice Department, but the film reportedly did not disclose its links to the Chinese government.
Film producer Robert Lawrence Kuhn also has ties to Chinese officials and the State Council Information Office, neither of which were disclosed by the film.
“To truly understand China, one has to recognize their genuine commitment to eradicating poverty,” Kuhn told China Daily, a government-controlled media outlet, about the film last year.
“Today, in the Western world, especially in the United States, there is concern about China’s actions and suspicion of China’s motives. But one of the things I wanted this film to do was to undermine the stereotype of China as a ruthless giant out to dominate the world. It’s just not the case.”
PBS affiliate KOCE, also known as PBS SoCal, helped produce the film and aired it on last week. Other PBS affiliates have either already aired the documentary or plan to do so this month.
The airing of the film will most likely add to Republican calls for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which provides federal funds to PBS and NPR, to be defunded, Fox News reported.
For the fourth year in a row, President Donald Trump’s proposed 2021 fiscal year budget tried to reduce the amount of money allocated for public media, this time to just $30 million, according to Deadline.
Previous attempts to slash funding have been stopped by Congress.
Although PBS is funded through a mix of government grants, corporate sponsorships and private donations, the organization says that federal funding is crucial for operation, according to the DCNF.
“There is no viable replacement for federal funding — which amounts to $1.35 per citizen per year,” PBS SoCal wrote on its website.
“The loss of federal funding would make it difficult for local stations to operate and would cause many of them to close, which would result in a collapse of the PBS system. Loss of federal funding would also have a devastating effect on PBS’s ability to produce the quality content our viewers love.”
The airing of the Chinese documentary also comes as there is growing scrutiny across the globe about China’s involvement in the coronavirus pandemic.
China has been accused of releasing false statistics and failing to provide accurate information about the outbreak.
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