Jon Ossoff, currently a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Georgia, reportedly took money from a Hong Kong media company whose owner has condemned the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. Ossoff challenged Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) in the November election and his race went to a runoff scheduled for January 5, 2021. The Democrat had failed to previously disclose the gift from the Hong Kong media company, which supports the Chinese Communist Party.
Ossoff recently amended a financial disclosure form reporting that he has received at least $5,000 from PCCW Media Limited over the last two years. His initial disclosure, filed in May, omitted the payments.
PCCW Chairman Richard Li (the son of Hong Kong’s richest man, Li Ka-Shing) has long condemned the Hong Kong independence movement and the pro-democracy protests, which oppose the CCP’s crackdown on the semi-autonomous region. Li also serves as a councilor for the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington, D.C., think tank.
PCCW paid Ossoff in connection with his role as the CEO of a London-based company producing investigative documentaries.
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. Ossoff had previously been silent on the situation in Hong Kong.
In 2016, Li declared himself “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, inspiring backlash 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 the pro-democracy protests mounted in 2019, Li took out full-page ads in no fewer than seven newspapers to call for the restoration of “the social order with the rule of law,” backing the CCP’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council. He remained silent when the Chinese Communist Party unilaterally passed a new national security law in June, which U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued makes Hong Kong no longer an “autonomous” territory.
The PCCW payments to Ossoff are not the only source of controversy in the amended financial disclosure. In July, the Washington Free Beacon reported that the Qatari-backed news agency Al Jazeera paid Ossoff over the past two years, citing the same disclosure. Ossoff faced heavy criticism for similar ties to Al Jazeera during his run for Georgia’s Sixth Congressional District in 2017. Ossoff lost that race to Rep. Karen Handel (R-Ga.), only to win the seat in 2018.
Republicans lost one U.S. Senate seat in the 2020 elections, leaving them with 50 seats in the Senate. If Joe Biden wins the presidency (President Donald Trump has challenged the results, but he is unlikely to reverse Biden’s leads), the two Georgia runoffs will determine the Senate majority. If Democrats win both, Vice President Kamala Harris would give them the slimmest of Senate majorities.
Tyler O’Neil is the author of Making Hate Pay: The Corruption of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.