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Lawmaker wants Chinese news outlet to register as foreign agent

Lawmaker wants Chinese news outlet to register as foreign agent
© Greg Nash

A GOP lawmaker is requesting the Chinese state media outlet Xinhua to register as a foreign agent.

Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.), in a letter sent Wednesday to Attorney General William BarrBill BarrBudowsky: Democracy won, Trump lost, President Biden inaugurated Two-thirds say the election was fair: poll The Hill's Morning Report - An inauguration like no other MORE, called it “extremely troubling” that Xinhua has not registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA), according to the letter obtained by Axios.

The act requires institutions that get foreign government funding or direction to send disclosures to the Department of Justice to make the information publicly available in a database. 

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The Indiana Republican cited “deep, longstanding ties” between Xinhua and the Chinese Communist Party as reason for concern, adding there is no documentation that the media outlet has registered. 

Banks quoted the 2017 annual report from the U.S.-China Security and Economic Review Commission saying, "Xinhua serves some functions of an intelligence agency by gathering information and producing classified reports for the Chinese government."

The Indiana representative’s letter follows a letter sent to former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsHarris to resign from Senate seat on Monday Rosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Sessions, top DOJ officials knew 'zero tolerance' would separate families, watchdog finds MORE by Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenate approves waiver for Biden's Pentagon nominee Democrats swear in three senators to gain majority Pompeo's flurry of foreign policy moves hampers Biden start MORE (D-Vt.) and Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioLimbaugh falsely says Biden didn't win legitimately while reacting to inauguration NRSC chair says he'll back GOP incumbents against Trump primary challengers Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official MORE (R-Fla.) in 2018 that cited concerns about Chinese-state funded media operating in the U.S., including Xinhua. 

The representative is requesting that the Department of Justice supply him with communications with Xinhua about its status as a foreign agent and any enforcement mechanisms to ensure the company complies with the legislation.

Concerns about foreign interference in U.S. politics has ramped up after Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.