On Monday, President Donald Trump grilled a reporter on if she was working for China after she expressed pro-China sentiment during the White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing.
“Only last week there were multiple flights coming from China full of medical supplies, companies like Huawei and Alibaba has been donating to the United States like 1.5 million N95 masks and also a lot of medical gloves and much more medical supplies,” the reporter from Phoenix TV said.
“That sounds like a statement more than a question,” Trump interjected.
“The Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai last night wrote a op-ed in The New York Times calling for cooperation with the United States,” the reporter continued. “So are you personally working directly with China on medical supplies and fighting with the virus?”
Trump gave a lengthy answer about how the administration is working with China on trade and how he has secured a massive $250 deal for America’s farmers.
“Are you cooperating with China?” the reporter continued.
“Who are your working for, China?” Trump asked. “You work for China? Who are you with?”
“Hong Kong Phoenix TV,” the reporter responded. “It’s based in Hong Kong.”
“Who owns that, China?” Trump pressed. “Is it owned by China?”
“It’s based in Hong Kong,” the reporter said.
“Is it owned by the state? Trump asked.
“No, it’s not,” the reporter claimed. “It’s a private owned company.”
"Who are you working for, China?" – President Trump asks a reporter from Phoenix TV, which is partially owned by the Chinese state bank.pic.twitter.com/EJEMLDblLW
— Nathan Brand (@NathanBrandWA) April 7, 2020
The Washington Free Beacon reported in late 2018 that former Phoenix TV news director, Chung Pong, testified that Phoenix TV is controlled by China’s “Communist Propaganda Department”.
“I know from personal experience that Phoenix TV’s content is subject to the dictates of the leadership of the Central Communist Propaganda Department, Central Communist Overseas Propaganda Office, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which often directly sent instructions to Phoenix Satellite TV,” Pong said in a statement included in an FCC filing, according to The Free Beacon.
A former Phoenix TV news director testified in 2018 that the network is controlled by China's Communist Propaganda Department and that there are internal directives to not report positively on the United States.
Why is this outlet in the White House asking Trump questions? pic.twitter.com/LrNZacN2a5
— Elliott Schwartz (@elliosch) April 6, 2020
Quartz reported that Phoenix TV aired the forced confessions of four Hong Kong booksellers in 2016 who had allegedly been kidnapped by the Chinese:
In February, four of five of Hong Kong’s disappeared booksellers—who some believe were kidnapped by Chinese agents—appeared on Phoenix TV to confess to selling banned books in mainland China. One of them, Lam Wing-kee, later said upon his return to Hong Kong from the mainland that he was forced to make the confession. In March, another bookseller, Lee Bo, gave an interview to The Paper, Phoenix TV and a pro-Beijing Hong Kong news outlet, Sing Tao Daily, to denounce claims that he was abducted by mainland officials in Hong Kong. Previously Sing Tao also ran several “exclusive” reports on Lee’s disappearance.
“Phoenix TV has been identified by U.S. intelligence agencies as a major overseas outlet used to spread propaganda and promote the policies of the communist government in Beijing,” the Free Beacon added. “The Hong Kong television station also has close ties to China’s intelligence service and military.”