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Chinese Funding Report: 'Congress, China... part of one umbilical cord,' says Anurag Thakur

News Agencies | Updated on: 7 August 2023, 16:01 IST
Chinese Funding Row

New Delhi: Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur on Monday attacked the Congress party alleging that it and other parties had supported the NewsClick platform when it was investigated by central agencies.

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday, slammed the Congress party for supporting the NewsClick portal after a report highlighted Chinese funding to the platform aimed at spreading Beijing's propaganda.

Addressing a press conference in the national capital today, Thakur also alleged that China had signed an agreement with the Congress party and made payments to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation during the regime of the UPA.

US-based newspaper The New York Times had in a recent report stated that one person identified as Neville Roy Singham by the daily as a socialist benefactor of far-left causes, has worked closely with the Chinese government media machine and is financing the Chinese propaganda worldwide.

The Union Minister said, “Congress, China and NewsClick are all part of an umbilical cord. Chinese products are clearly visible in Rahul Gandhi’s fake ‘Mohabbat ki Dukaan’. His love for China can be seen. Their purpose was to run an ‘anti-India’ and ‘Break India’ agenda”.

“Neville Roy Singham made the funding to NewsClick, and he was himself being funded by China. Neville Roy is in direct contact with the propaganda arm of the Chinese propaganda party. And these facts have been exposed by those newspapers which are highly praised by the Congress party,” Thakur said.

The Union Minister further alleged that when the BJP-led Centre was taking action against NewsClick, Congress and other Opposition parties had come out in its support.

“In 2021, we exposed NewsClick as to how foreign propaganda is used against India. But, these Opposition leaders came in support of NewsClick and alleged that the Centre is curbing the freedom of the press. Although, Chinese companies were funding NewsClick through Mogul Neville Roy Singham their salesmen were some people from India, who came in their support when action was taken against them. They tried to spread the Chinese agenda and mislead the Indian public through false propaganda. They spread ‘fake news’ in the name of ‘free news’,” Thakur said.

The BJP leader further stated that while the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate were used to be “caged parrots” under the UPA rule, the agencies are now under the BJP taking action against platforms like NewsClick.

“We will not allow the ‘Tukde Tukde’ narrative to succeed. This is a war against misinformation and it should continue,” the Union Minister said.

Further, Thakur alleged that during the Beijing Olympics 2008, the Congress party signed an agreement with China, under which payments were made to the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.

“When Rahul and Sonia Gandhi went to China for Beijing Olympics 2008, they signed an agreement under which high-level exchange were to take place. Under their agreement, a payment was also made to Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. And the agreement was signed by none other than Xi Jinping and Rahul Gandhi,” Thakur said.

He added, “What was in that agreement came to light in July 2017, when China tried to encroach on our lands. At that time, Rahul Gandhi was shaking hands and eating food with Chinese officials. Then, again in Cambridge, Rahul Gandhi heaped praises on China calling them “force of nature” and “aspiring superpower”.

Slamming the Opposition parties further, the Union Minister demanded an “answer” for supporting NewsClick.

“My question is to Congress and all Opposition parties who supported NewsClick when they were spreading anti-India agenda. Today, when a foreign newspaper has exposed their agenda, will they answer to the country? I want to ask where was the money spent by Rajiv Gandhi Foundation? What high-level meetings happened with China? Is Congress, NewsClick a part of the anti-India umbilical cord? And, I also want to ask other parties of the arrogant Opposition bloc, what benefits did they accrue?” Thakur said.

Meanwhile, the NYT report has stated that under Chinese President Xi Jinping, China has expanded state media operations, teamed up with outlets based in other nations and cultivated foreign influencers. Their aim is to disguise propaganda as independent content.

According to the report in the US daily, Singham’s groups have produced YouTube videos that have garnered millions of views. They also seek to influence real-world politics by meeting with congressional aides, training lawmakers in Africa, running candidates in South African polls and organizing protests like the one in London that erupted into violence.


First published: 7 August 2023, 16:01 IST