The masthead said Washington Post, the Chinese-language articles credited the Post’s reporters and the news of the day mirrored the selection on the US website. The only problem? The Washington Post Chinese edition, built up a loyal audience, was not run by the US newspaper. The lookalike site illustrates the difficulties faced by foreign companies in China. “Every western media organization that has tried to come to China has faced great difficulties,” said media consultant and former Reuters editor-in-chief David Schlesinger, who helped launch the news agency’s Chinese-language content in the 1990s. The Washington Post only became aware of its Chinese clone when contacted by the Financial Times. After the FT’s queries this month, the newspaper’s masthead disappeared from the Chinese site, which adopted a new layout that no longer evoked that of the US publication. The site has a contract to distribute real Washington Post content, but mixed it articles from state-run Xinhua news.
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