Georgia Democrat and Senate candidate Jon Ossoff has been compensated by a Hong Kong media conglomerate whose owner has spoken out against pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, according to his most recent financial disclosure.
Ossoff, whose role as CEO of a London-based producer of investigative documentaries has drawn scrutiny over the years, reported in an amended financial statement that he has received at least $5,000 from PCCW Media Limited over the last two years — a detail that has previously gone unreported. Ossoff did not disclose his ties to PCCW in his initial financial report, which he filed in May.
PCCW, the largest telecom agency in Hong Kong, is run by Chairman Richard Li, son of Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-shing. Li also serves as a councilor for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank. But for years, Li has spoken out against Hong Kong independence and the pro-democracy protests that have rocked the island as the Chinese Communist Party has consolidated control.
An Ossoff campaign spokesperson told National Review that the payments stemmed from the airing of “two investigations produced by Jon’s company of ISIS war crimes against women and girls,” representing “one of dozens of TV stations and distributors in more than 30 countries that have aired Jon’s work.”
“Jon strongly supports Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement and condemns the brutality and authoritarianism of the Chinese Communist Party,” the spokesperson added, after a National Review analysis of Ossoff’s public comments showed that the candidate has been silent on the situation in Hong Kong. Ossoff’s campaign declined to comment on whether he condemns Li’s opposition to the island’s pro-democracy movement.
In 2016, Li released a public statement asserting that he was “staunchly opposed to the independence of Hong Kong,” after a mainland Chinese media outlet reported that his company was backing pro-democracy singer Denise Ho Wan-see, prompting calls to boycott his companies from Chinese nationalists.
“Mr. Richard Li and MOOV would like to clearly state that the company and Mr. Li respect freedom of expression,” the statement read. “However, both Mr. Li and the Company are staunchly opposed to the independence of Hong Kong and it is their view that the independence of Hong Kong would not be feasible, and discussing Hong Kong’s independence is a waste of society’s resources.”
As protests reached a fever pitch in 2019, Li moved to take out full-page advertisements in seven newspapers to call for the restoration of “the social order with the rule of law,” backing the recommendations of Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council.
While Li reaffirmed the “One Country, Two Systems” principle that has governed Hong Kong since 1997, he has been silent since the Chinese Communist Party acted unilaterally to pass a sweeping new national security law in June, which Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said makes Hong Kong no longer an “autonomous” entity.
Li’s father Li Ka-shing has publicly backed the law, saying the Hong Kong people “need not over-hypothesise it,” even as Beijing has cracked down on its critics and dissenters. And when asked by Vulture what the law would mean for potential media censorship, a PCCW spokesperson said that “PCCW Media will operate its businesses in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.”
PCCW’s payments to Ossoff are not the only source of controversy in the amended report. In July, the Washington Free Beacon revealed that, based on the same disclosure, Ossoff has been compensated financially by the Qatari-backed news agency Al Jazeera over the past two years. Ossoff was heavily criticized for similar ties to Al Jazeera during his failed run for Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District in 2017.
Editor’s Note: This piece has been updated with a comment from the Ossoff campaign.