Exposé Uncovers Links Between China and Code Pink
The New York Times have had a rare moment on the side of good, coming out with an exposé of a financial network that uses American nonprofits to push Chinese talking points worldwide.
And lo and behold, the thick things of anti-Israel group Code Pink are right in the thick of things (hat tip: Richie).
On the surface, No Cold War is a loose collective run mostly by American and British activists who say the West’s rhetoric against China has distracted from issues like climate change and racial injustice.
In fact, a New York Times investigation found, it is part of a lavishly funded influence campaign that defends China and pushes its propaganda. At the center is a charismatic American millionaire, Neville Roy Singham, who is known as a socialist benefactor of far-left causes.
What is less known, and is hidden amid a tangle of nonprofit groups and shell companies, is that Mr. Singham works closely with the Chinese government media machine and is financing its propaganda worldwide.
From a think tank in Massachusetts to an event space in Manhattan, from a political party in South Africa to news organizations in India and Brazil, The Times tracked hundreds of millions of dollars to groups linked to Mr. Singham that mix progressive advocacy with Chinese government talking points.
Some, like No Cold War, popped up in recent years. Others, like the American antiwar group Code Pink, have morphed over time. Code Pink once criticized China’s rights record but now defends its internment of the predominantly Muslim Uyghurs, which human rights experts have labeled a crime against humanity.
These groups are funded through American nonprofits flush with at least $275 million in donations.
He and his allies are on the front line of what Communist Party officials call a “smokeless war.” Under the rule of Xi Jinping, China has expanded state media operations, teamed up with overseas outlets and cultivated foreign influencers. The goal is to disguise propaganda as independent content.
In 2017, Mr. Singham married Jodie Evans, a former Democratic political adviser and the co-founder of Code Pink. The wedding, in Jamaica, was a “Who’s Who” of progressivism. Photos from the event show Amy Goodman, host of “Democracy Now!”; Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream; and V, the playwright formerly known as Eve Ensler, who wrote “The Vagina Monologues.”
Ms. Evans has organized around progressive causes like climate change, gender and racism. Until a few years ago, she readily criticized China’s authoritarian government.
“We demand China stop brutal repression of their women’s human rights defenders,” she wrote on Twitter in 2015. She later posted on Instagram a photo with the Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei.
Since 2017, about a quarter of Code Pink’s donations — more than $1.4 million — have come from two groups linked to Mr. Singham, nonprofit records show.
Ms. Evans now stridently supports China. She casts it as a defender of the oppressed and a model for economic growth without slavery or war. “If the U.S. crushes China,” she said in 2021, it “would cut off hope for the human race and life on Earth.”
She describes the Uyghurs as terrorists and defends their mass detention. “We have to do something,” she said in 2021. In a recent YouTube video chat, she was asked if she had anything negative to say about China.
“I can’t, for the life of me, think of anything,” Ms. Evans responded. She ultimately had one complaint: She had trouble using China’s phone-based payment apps.
Ms. Evans declined to answer questions about funding from her husband but said Code Pink had never taken money from any government. “I deny your suggestion that I follow the direction of any political party, my husband or any other government or their representatives,” she said in a written statement. “I have always followed my values.”
Few on the American political left would discuss the couple publicly, fearing lawsuits or harassment. Others said that criticism would undermine progressive causes. But Howie Hawkins, the 2020 Green Party presidential nominee, said he had soured on Code Pink and others in the Singham network that presented themselves as pro-labor but supported governments that suppressed workers. “To defend that, or excuse that, really pushes them outside what the left ought to be,” he said.
Code Pink is not alone among left-wing groups in raising concerns about anti-Asian discrimination and tensions between Beijing and Washington.
But Code Pink goes further, defending the Chinese government’s policies. In a 2021 video, a staff member compared Hong Kong’s pro-democracy demonstrators to the rioters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 that year.
In June, Code Pink activists visited staff members on the House Select Committee on China unannounced. In the office of Representative Seth Moulton, Democrat of Massachusetts, activists denied evidence of forced labor in Xinjiang and said the congressman should visit and see how happy people were there, according to an aide.
“They are capitalizing on very legitimate concerns in order to push this pro-authoritarian narrative,” said Brian Hioe, an editor with New Bloom, a progressive Taiwanese news site. “And their ideas end up circulating in a way that affects mainstream discourse.”
Chinese state media accounts have retweeted people and organizations in Mr. Singham’s network at least 122 times since February 2020, a Times analysis found, mostly accounts connected with No Cold War and Code Pink.
This reminds me of the fact that much of anti-Israel propaganda today emanates from Soviet propaganda of the 70s and 80s.
In any event, we already knew Code Pink were morally bankrupt hypocrites, and this confirms it. It also reiterates the fact that being on the anti-Israel side almost certainly guarantees being on the side of evil.