The Chinese government is hiring Vippi Media, a New Jersey-based firm, to help improve its image ahead of the Winter Olympic Games next month in Beijing.
Vippi Media has been organizing a social media campaign that promotes positive messaging about China and the Beijing Games on TikTok, Instagram, and Twitch with a contract value of U.S.$300,000.
Vipinder Jaswal, the CEO of Vippi Media, told The Guardian that he considered the Chinese government’s problem before signing the agreement.
Earlier this month, Florida Senator Rick Scott wrote to Newsweek, where Jaswal is a contributor, requesting that the publication reevaluate its partnership with Jaswal in light of China’s human rights issues. The senator’s letter has received no public response from Newsweek.
The arrangement, registered with the U.S. Department of Justice, began in November 2021 and will last through the end of the Winter Paralympics in March 2022.
In December, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia announced a “diplomatic boycott” of the Winter Olympics to protest China’s human rights record. Including the treatment of Uyghur and the handling of tennis star Peng Shuai’s sexual assault allegations against Zhang Gaoli, a senior Chinese official.
According to Open Secrets, a DC-based organization that tracks money in American politics, China spent approximately U.S.$60 million on media messaging in the United States in 2020 and U.S.$23 million in 2021.