China using social media to discredit BBC in state propaganda campaign, says Australian think tank

WION Web Team
NEW DELHI Updated: Mar 04, 2021, 10:56 PM(IST)

Security guards stand at the gates of what is officially known as a vocational skills education centre in Huocheng County in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China September 3, 2018. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

An Australian research group has said that China’s attempts to discredit the BBC show an increased sophistication in tailoring propaganda for Western audiences.

China is consistently using social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook to attack the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in a state-backed disinformation campaign to undermine critical reporting by Western media of the human rights abuse of Uighur minorities in Xinjiang province.

Also read: China bans BBC World News for its reporting on Uighur genocide, Covid-19

An Australian research group has said that China’s attempts to discredit the BBC show an increased sophistication in tailoring propaganda for Western audiences.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been actively running a social media campaign against the BBC after it aired a report on February 2 featuring Uighur women who alleged that detainees in camps in the province of Xinjiang were systematically raped, sexually abused and tortured. China’s Foreign Ministry denied the allegations and accused the BBC of making a “false report.”

According to a report published by a think tank — Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) provides a snapshot of the CCP’s ongoing coordinated response targeting the BBC, which leveraged YouTube, Twitter and Facebook and was broadly framed around three prominent narratives:

  1. That the BBC spreads disinformation and is biased against China
  2. That the BBC’s domestic audiences think that it’s biased and not to be trusted
  3. That the BBC’s reporting on China is instigated by foreign actors and intelligence agencies.

The report says that "to contest and blunt criticism of the CCP’s systematic surveillance and control of minority ethnic groups, the party will continue to aggressively deploy its propaganda and disinformation apparatus."

International rights groups estimate that over one million Uighurs and other Turkic-speaking minority groups in Xinjiang have been held in internment camps since early 2017.

Uighurs who were once detained in internment camps in China’s Xinjiang region say they have been sexually abused and raped during interrogations by Chinese authorities, while also witnessing other fellow detainees being raped.

(With inputs from agencies)

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