US authorities are investigating a California company whose radio broadcasts are suspected to be backed by an entity controlled by the Chinese government.
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the Justice Department launched the probe in the wake of a Reuters report Monday that revealed the existence of a covert radio network that broadcasts in more than a dozen American cities.
“Based on reports, the FCC will initiate an inquiry into the facts surrounding the foreign ownership issues raised in the stories, including whether the Commission’s statutory foreign ownership rules have been violated,” FCC spokesman Neil Grace said.
The California firm is owned by James Su, a naturalized US citizen born in Shanghai.
Reuters reported Monday that Su’s company, G&E Studio Inc, is 60 percent owned by a subsidiary of Chinese state-run radio broadcaster China Radio International (CRI).
Under US law, the FCC prohibits foreign governments or their representatives from holding a radio license for a US broadcast station.
Through G&E and some other entities, Su owns, co-owns or has leased virtually all the air time on at least a dozen US stations, including one operates in Washington, according to Reuters.
The stations carry G&E content, which is produced largely by his West Covina, California studios or by CRI in Beijing.
The news programming on these stations sticks closely to the Chinese government line on a host of issues, including the current military standoff in the South China Sea between China and the US.
US law requires anyone inside the country seeking to influence American policy or public opinion on behalf of a foreign government or group to register with the Justice Department.
Public records show that neither Su nor his companies are registered as foreign agents under the law, called the Foreign Agents Registration Act, Reuters said.
– Contact us at [email protected]