Activist company

A British company discovered that it was making propaganda films for China

Ms. McLeod continues to be listed as a director of the company since 2011; company filings show that it owns all of the shares in 2019.

Meridian Line’s films have been praised by Chinese state media, air on Chinese government channels as well as overseas networks, such as National Geographic, and remain available to stream for free through government websites.

A film – ‘World’s Biggest Birthday Party’, which celebrates the 70th anniversary of the ruling Communist Party in 2019 – has been described by Chinese state media as ‘an international co-production’, citing CICC, National Geographic and Meridian Line as partners .

“China has a long history and rich culture that could engender many inspirations for quality documentaries,” Wang told state media in 2019 of the film. “Through cooperation with our American and British partners, we could make Chinese folktales more appealing to overseas audiences.”

“China: Time of Xi” first aired in 2017 on the Asia branch of the Discovery Channel and Chinese state television networks in 38 countries and regions, reaching hundreds of millions, according to a press release. , just as a two-decade Communist Party congress elevated Mr. Xi’s authority to that of Chairman Mao.

The interviewees are high profile, including former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Kerry Brown, director of the Lau China Institute at King’s College London, and a former British diplomat in Beijing.

“The strategic thinking behind cooperating with overseas producers and with outlets like the Discovery Channel is to use existing channels to reach wider overseas audiences,” Bandurski said.

It also “helps project the illusion of a distance between the Chinese state and the production process, so that the ‘independence’ of documentaries like China: Time of Xi can be taken seriously despite obvious alignment with state propaganda messages,” he wrote in one post. in 2018.

The Telegraph has contacted Meridian Line Films, Ms McLeod, Mr Forster, Ms Ochota, Mr Nguyen, National Geographic, Discovery Channel Asia Pacific and the CICC for comment.