by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The Beatles manager who orchestrated the ill-advised wedding between John Lennon and Yoko Ono is now the Chinese government’s pointman to build ties between Beijing and American journalists and officials.
Peter Brown, who managed the world-famous band until its disbandment in 1970, now uses his public relations skills to advance the interests of the Chinese regime. Brown, through his firm BLJ Worldwide, has arranged dozens of American reporters to visit China on all-expenses-paid trips and placed pro-Chinese op-eds in top U.S. outlets.
The Chinese embassy in the United States and the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation (CUSEF)—a registered foreign agent with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party—have paid nearly $4 million to Brown’s firm since 2016. As part of the contract with the embassy, Brown’s team provided media training to Chinese diplomats, monitored news reports about China, and assisted “crisis communications” on key issues such as the trade war and the annual Communist Party Congress.
“The protectionist and economically nationalist approach leads to no solution. A trade war is absolutely a wrong choice, which will only destroy trade itself,” read a 2018 Time magazine op-ed written by Chinese ambassador Cui Tiankai. Brown’s firm helped place that op-ed in the magazine.
Rep. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), who sits on the GOP China Task Force, blasted Brown’s decision to work with Beijing as “shameful.”
“Peter Brown profited off of America’s openness and now does the bidding of totalitarian communists who never would have tolerated a band like the Beatles. It’s shameful,” Banks told the Washington Free Beacon. “Maybe he took songs like ‘Back in the U.S.S.R.’ a little too seriously, but the song ‘Money’ probably gets closer to his motivations.”