“China should not be able to set up shop in Mexico and blanket America with propaganda. Every year, the [Chinese Communist Party] spends billions of dollars purchasing news outlets and waging information warfare to extend the reach of its propaganda and whitewash the unflattering and politically inconvenient truths about its totalitarian regime,” Cruz told the Free Beacon.
“We are seeing this play out right now as news outlets across the country parrot Chinese talking points about the coronavirus pandemic—a pandemic that could have been prevented,” Cruz said. “I look forward to introducing this legislation when Congress returns and closing FCC loopholes that allow China to wage their information warfare from across the border in Mexico.”
Phoenix TV has been exploiting an FCC loophole that permits content produced in the United States to be broadcast back into the United States by radio towers more powerful than those located within the country. Phoenix TV, which is headquartered in California, produces its content domestically and then uses the powerful Mexican station to ensure it reaches American ears in California.
Cruz’s bill would ban the FCC from granting licenses for broadcasts from across the Mexican border when the new owners seek to change the language of the station they are purchasing—unless the FCC can guarantee they were free from foreign government influence.
The bill would also apply to those seeking to purchase radio towers in Canada that are capable of broadcasting into the United States.
In 2018, Cruz raised concerns with the FCC over the purchase and control of Mexico’s XEWW AM 690 station by H&H Capital, an investment group that the senator says is entangled with Phoenix TV and China. He called on the FCC not to issue a license the station needs to operate.
H&H is owned in large part by Vivian Huo, a U.S. citizen and Beijing native who formerly worked for several Chinese-run media outlets.
“The actual beneficiary owner of this deal is reportedly Phoenix Satellite TV,” Cruz wrote in 2018. “Though ‘Phoenix Satellite TV’ does not appear anywhere in the H&H Group’s application, the address listed for programing content—3810 Durbin St., Irwindale, CA 91706—is a building owned by Phoenix Satellite TV USA.”
The bill specifically seeks to target schemes like those employed by Phoenix TV and its affiliates.