Daily Telegraph drops dedicated China Watch section from print and online

Josh Peachey's picture

The Daily Telegraph has ended its long-standing China Watch section, which was funded by and hosted content from the state-run news outlet China Daily.

The move comes amid growing scrutiny of how China is using the pandemic to grow its influence in English-language media for western audiences.

The section has been in the Telegraph for more than a decade and the content was written by Chinese state journalists. It appeared both in print supplements and on a branded section of the Telegraph's website. 

In the past few days, the dedicated content covering news from Chinese state reporters has been taken down from the Telegraph’s website along with another section that reproduced material from China’s People’s Daily Online – the official outlet of the country’s ruling communist party.

Example headlines of pieces in the now-removed section included “Why are some framing China’s heroic efforts to stop coronavirus as inhumane?” and “Coronavirus outbreak is not an opportunity to score points against China”.

The news outlet is yet to comment on why it is no longer running the lucrative branded material from China Daily, which is rumoured to have earned them £750,000 a year.

Similarly to the rest of the newspaper industry, the Telegraph is fighting a fall in print sales and a collapse in the ad market.

In recent weeks, the Mail on Sunday has reported on alleged threats to national security from growing Chinese influence in the UK.

The Telegraph has run many pieces critical of China since the start of the pandemic with the China correspondent, Sophia Yan, recently spent a week in Wuhan reporting on doubts about the official death toll from coronavirus.

The Telegraph has also reported on how Chinese state media is buying positive coverage through Facebook adverts.