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VOA on CCP’s Anti-US Propaganda Campaigns

Voice of America has summarized how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has obstructed public awareness of certain international events over the past year by exaggerating, distorting, and confusing the facts.

U.S. college students protest to show the ineffective governance of the United States

Chinese media have extensively covered protests on American campuses. Videos of the protests were shared on major Chinese social media platforms. Some state-level media outlets characterized these protests as expressions of public dissatisfaction with the U.S. government. “Can suppressing students with violence really silence the discontent of the domestic population toward the government?” asked a People’s Liberation Army commentary article on April 26th. On April 29th, the CCP-owned newspaper People’s Daily claimed in a video that American students protested because they “couldn’t stand the double standards of the United States.”

Wang Yaqiu, director of the Freedom House, said that this “ineffective governance” rhetoric has been effective in some developing countries since those countries suffered under Western colonialism and are relatively more receptive to Chinese propaganda.

The Hawaii wildfires as another example of ineffective governance in the United States

In August 2023, wildfires swept through Maui, Hawaii. Chinese “information warriors” promoted a conspiracy theory suggesting that the fires were not natural disasters but rather the result of weather weapon experiments by the U.S. military. A report by NewsGuard found that, from August to September, at least 85 social media and blog accounts spread similar posts and videos claiming that the British Secret Service (MI6) had exposed the U.S. military for deliberate arson on its own territory. NewsGuard believes there is “strong evidence” that Chinese users were behind the dissemination of the false information. Some Weibo users remarked, “A country that claims to be the most developed on Earth can’t even handle a wildfire?”

Israel-Hamas conflict to advance anti-American and anti-Israeli narratives

Ever since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th last year, the Chinese authorities have appeared to maintain a neutral stance on the conflict. On the heavily censored Weibo social media platform, however, commentators and netizens have clearly sided with Hamas and condemned Israel for committing genocide.

“In the Palestinian-Israeli war, it is clear that Israel is the aggressor, but the United States openly supports Israel, providing massive military assistance and not even recognizing Palestine as an independent country… In the Russia-Ukraine war, the United States is playing a completely different role: it is the self-proclaimed savior of Ukraine, demanding guns for guns and cannons for cannons. Why does the United States have such double standards… and how does it switch between the sword of evil and justice so freely?”

Ahmed Aboudouh from the Chatham House believes that China’s narrative “successfully enhances Beijing’s image in non-Western societies and supports its efforts to be seen as a global power.”

Interference in the Taiwanese presidential election via false information

Taiwan held a presidential election earlier this year. During the period before the election, China launched a large-scale hybrid warfare campaign. This included the strengthening of military activities, imposing trade sanctions, and conducting large-scale disinformation campaigns online.

One central theme of the information war narrative was skepticism towards the United States, propagating the ideas that the U.S. would eventually abandon Taiwan, that the U.S. lacks the strength to protect Taiwan, and that the U.S. is the root cause of global conflicts. These narratives were intended to drive a wedge into U.S.-Taiwan relations.

A report by the Taiwan Information Environment Research Center showed that, between 2021 and 2023, 84 different narratives of “skepticism towards the United States” circulated in the Taiwanese media environment. “The CCP is the largest foreign influence source of skepticism towards the United States,” the report stated.

According to a November 2023 opinion poll, these information warfare activities have yielded some results. The trust that Taiwanese people have in the United States decreased by about 10 percentage points from 2021 to 2022. In 2023, this figure reached 33.9 percent.

Source: VOA, May 3, 2024