The Epoch Times, the mysterious publication is linked to Falun Gong. The Epoch Times is spending more than most presidential campaigns on Facebook to promote pro-Trump videos.It is an obscure publication aimed at the Chinese diaspora, was one of the top three political spenders on Facebook in the last week in April. The paper outspent every presidential candidate except Biden and Trump himself, according to an analysis by Acronym.
The Epoch Times spent this money to promote stories that Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, has championed, including the New York Times story on "Spygate."
(They were not promoted by The Epoch Times primary Facebook page. Instead, they were funneled through a subsidiary page called "Coverage of the Trump Presidency by The Epoch Times." This made it harder to find the actual ads through the database.)
For example, this video features a smiling young man summarizing the New York Times story.
According to Facebook, The Epoch Times has spent almost as much on Facebook ads in the last week ($148,937) than the Trump campaign ($149,610). The Epoch Times is organized as a 501(c)(3) non-profit based in New York. That means it gets some of its funding from donors. Who are the donors? Under U.S. law, The Epoch Times is required to report them to the IRS but not required to make them public. So we don't know.
The Epoch Times is a newspaper that has long been linked to Falun Gong -- although The Epoch Times denies any official affiliation. The Epoch Times is banned in China, where Falun Gong is being persecuted, and distributed free in the United States and other locals around the world. It was founded in 2000 by John Tang and other Chinese Americans affiliated with the Falun Gong movement. It has been publishing in English since 2004.
It has also emerged as "one of the staunchest defenders of Donald Trump’s presidency," according to BuzzFeed.
The Epoch Times has also praised a new move by the pro-Trump duo Diamond and Silk, interviewed obscure Republican candidates seeking to unseat Democrats, and claimed that Trump reads the paper daily.
An Epoch Times photographer created a controversy when she passed a folder to Trump in the White House.
Many Epoch Times staffers are practitioners of Falun Gong who work for the paper part-time for little or no pay.
The Epoch Times is written by people who are persecuted by the Chinese government. Trump is destabilizing the relationship between the U.S. and China through a trade war.
On Sunday, Trump "announced in two tweets...that he would raise American tariffs on Friday to 25 percent from 10 percent for $200 billion a year in Chinese goods. The Trump administration cited what it called backpedaling by Chinese officials during talks held last week in Beijing."
Tariffs are ultimately paid by American consumers, but they could also slow Chinese economic growth and make the current Chinese government less popular. A full-blown trade war could slow Chinese GDP growth by 1.2 to 1.5 percent.