US State Department reveals China’s extensive efforts to manipulate international narratives

The State Department report highlights the use of deceptive methods, technological tracking, and suppression techniques, along with examples of China’s collaboration with Russia in spreading propaganda.

Chinese flag and map of the world

A report by the US State Department reveals that the Chinese government is investing significant resources in various strategies involving disinformation, surveillance, and censorship. According to the document, these tactics are employed to shape international narratives in their favor among foreign audiences globally.

They involve relying on false or biassed claims and advanced technology for tracking and suppressing criticism of its policies and leaders. Examples include using automated bot networks to amplify Chinese diplomats’ messages and infiltrating state media employees posing as social media influencers to target foreign audiences. China is also investing in satellite and telecommunications technologies to control online information.

While some African governments are embracing the same tactics, using Chinese-provided Huawei systems to monitor political opposition, China faces resistance in democratic countries where local media and civil society resist its information manipulation efforts.

Why does it matter?

China, similar to other countries, has been actively working to influence global narratives in its favor for many years. Just last month, Meta revealed that it had removed a substantial number of social media accounts associated with the Chinese government on Facebook and Instagram, marking it as the most significant known online influence operation to date. One should note that, as one of the world’s superpowers, China’s actions in this realm can have far-reaching consequences for global politics, trade, and cooperation.