A report published by the New Yorker this week highlights an online publication catering to Chinese students at American universities that features pro-China propaganda.
According to a report by the New Yorker, a pro-China propaganda news outlet targeted at Chinese students at American universities now boasts 1.6 million followers on social media. The website, called College Daily, regularly publishes viral news stories in that receive one million or more page views.
Some of the content on College Daily, which is published in Chinese characters, is relatively benign. One story, about fireworks on the Lunar New Year, received seven hundred thousand page views. Other content on College Daily isn’t so innocent. In 2017, College Daily shamed University of Maryland student Yang Shuping when she simultaneously praised America’s First Amendment and condemned censorship in China during a speech she gave at her graduation.
College Daily sometimes casts its heat and light on unsuspecting private citizens. In 2017, after a Chinese student named Yang Shuping delivered a commencement speech at the University of Maryland, in which she praised “the fresh air of free speech” that she had found in America, College Daily published an article called “Maryland University Chinese Student Suspected of Shaming China in Her Graduation Speech,” which was widely aggregated by Chinese media. Yang became the target of Internet bullying and deleted her personal Web site and social-media accounts. (“Shaming China” is something of a buzz phrase at College Daily: as of February, it had appeared on the site more than a hundred and forty-five times.)
It is not uncommon for College Daily to accuse Chinese students of “shaming China.” The phrase “shaming China” has appeared on College Daily approximately 145 times since the publication’s inception, according to the report.
College Daily receives one million visitors per day. It has 1.6 million followers on the popular Chinese social media platform, WeChat. In 2017, WeChat’s parent company, the tech conglomerate Tencent, invested in the publication.