During China’s 19th Party Congress, held in Beijing from Oct. 18 to 24, the country’s state-controlled domestic media dutifully gave the dry, jargon-filled proceedings wall-to-wall front-page coverage. Beneath headlines trumpeting the party’s accomplishments, countless photographs showed Chinese President Xi Jinping presiding over long tables in cavernous meeting halls.
If you’d have opened Qiao Bao during this period, you’d have found much the same thing. Each day during the congress, which China holds every five years, the Chinese-language newspaper’s top story featured the conference and an accompanying photo, often of Xi.
What made that coverage somewhat surprising — especially given how opaque, and frankly tedious, the congresses tend to be — is where Qiao Bao is based: Alhambra, California.
The enthusiastic coverage of official Beijing is no accident. In recent years, and especially since Xi became president in 2012, the Chinese government has sought various ways to increase its influence over China’s 40 million-strong diaspora. The Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, a ministry specifically dedicated to the task, works to extend the party’s reach, and the push has seen increasing success in New Zealand, Australia, and Canada, where local ethnic Chinese organizations have begun to vocally push for pro-Beijing policies.