The Hedge Fund Man Behind Pro-Trump Media's New War on China - 2020-05-05
A tax document not intended for public disclosure reveals that a branch of the Epoch Media Group — a conservative media empire controlled by Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual movement with a stated goal of destroying the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) — received over $900,000 from and was formerly led by one of Mercer's longtime employees, Huayi Zhang, at the hedge fund Renaissance Technologies.
Most of Epoch Media Group's work has been devoted to portraying China in the most dangerous and sinister ways possible and the emergence of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan played directly into their narrative. Since 2005, the outlet has branded infectious disease outbreaks in China as "CCP Virus."
But Epoch has expanded outside of its hawkish anti-Beijing editorial line, emerging as one of the most prolific pro-Trump media outlets. Its newspaper, Epoch Times, has become a reliable Trumpist mouthpiece. In August 2019, Facebook banned future ad buys from the Epoch Media Group after it spent over $9 million on ads, including approximately 11,000 pro-Trump Facebook advertisements, more than any other organization other than the Trump campaign. Facebook said that Epoch evaded the company's transparency rules for political advertising and "repeatedly violated a number of our policies, including our policies against coordinated inauthentic behavior, spam and misrepresentation, to name just a few."