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From Shanghai to Chicago, Singham’s net transcends borders

NewsFrom Shanghai to Chicago, Singham’s net transcends borders


Based in Shanghai, American tech mogul Neville Roy Singham is a master in bringing under one umbrella a host of media outlets, NGOs, activists and shell companies for seamless flow of pro-China propaganda across continents, New York Times investigation has shown.

The 69-year-old millionaire’s alleged activities involving Indian entities are just a small part of the NYT expose that focuses more on the global propaganda machinery funded by the Chinese government. However, the probe has thrown up electronic evidence, including emails, where Singham is believed to be communicating with a person purportedly from India and with the same first name as a top journalist at NewsClick. The NYT investigation showed that Singham, apparently used the email account Jamcanroy@gmail.com to communicate with his associates. In one of his emails of 30 March 2020, he discussed undertaking “Research for three article series on China and its handling of the virus”.

This email was purportedly sent to many of his friends, some of whom seemed to be using Indian names in their email address like, Prasanth Radhakrishan prasanth1584@gmail.com and Vijay Prashad <vijay@tgetrucibtubebtak.org.

In one message, Singham introduces a person named Vijay by saying “originally from India now in US–historian and author etc.” The NYT investigation showed that in the same mail, he also introduced his team to two-three Delhi-based people whom he identified as: Prabir–activist, writer, researcher based in Delhi India; Srujana–activist, economist also based in Delhi and Prasanth–journalist and editor based in Delhi. The media baron with Sri Lankan roots, suspected to be flush with Chinese government money, is linked to advocacy groups that are funded by American NGOs that manage donations of about $275 million, the probe said.

His wife Jodie Evans is a former Democratic political advisor and the co-founder of CodePink a feminist, anti-war NGO founded in the US in 2002. The NYT alleged that in the recent past, Evan’s NGO was a staunch critic of China, but with a growth in Singham’s network of funding, it softened its stance and started defending the Communist country at various fora, the probe showed.

Apart from controlling the global Chinese propaganda from Shanghai, Singham also joined a Communist Party workshop about promoting the party internationally and to “spread China’s voice to the world. One of the videos produced by a group linked to the millionaire claimed, “China’s history continues to inspire the working classes”.

The NYT report also cites Singham’s denial on links with the Chinese government. However, the American publication’s investigation pointed that despite his claims, there were indications that his team shared staff and office space with an outfit which aimed to educate foreigners about “the miracles that China has created on the world stage.”

The NYT report says “from a think-tank in Massachusetts to an event space in Manhattan, from a political party in South Africa to news organisations in India and Brazil”, Singham was in league with the Chinese government and “financing its propaganda worldwide”.

From his communications with journalists of news portals and his team, it appears that Singham tried to salvage the Chinese government’s image in the aftermath of Covid-19 outbreak. A “three article series on China and the handling of the corona virus” was planned by Singham’s associates. The articles were planned to be syndicated by Globetrotter before being assembled into a TriContinental publication, showed the investigation.

While talking about the India angle to its probe, the NYT said corporate filings in New Delhi established the financial trail from Singham’s network to NewsClick.

In Shanghai, Singham’s network operates at least three YouTube shows, which are party funded by the city’s propaganda department and a Chinese University.
The groups that the media mogul is associated with, work in close coordination. “They have cross-posted articles and shared one another’s content on social media hundreds of times. Many share staff members and office space. They organise events together,” said the NYT report.

The American newspaper’s report also carried details of Singham’s personal life. It said he is the son of Archibald Wickeramaraja Singham, a Sri Lankan political scientist and historian.

The millionaire’s father was a professor of political science at Brooklyn College of City University of New York. According to some media reports, Singham senior, who died in 1991, was born to Sri Lankan parents in Burma.

In Neville Singham’s LinkedIn profile, he is described as a “retired” person. Earlier, he graduated in political science from Howard University and also studied in the University of Michigan.

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