How Chinese propaganda factory has global franchises

WION Web Team New Delhi, Delhi, India Mar 27, 2020, 12.57 AM(IST)

File photo of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

We have all heard how Beijing keeps tight control over the media at home. Now, it is expanding its propaganda machinery across the world.

Why should we take China's propaganda push seriously? because the Communist Party does.

In 2018, China spent more than six billion dollars to create a global media platform to spread its message. Propaganda is an important tool to keep control in China.

We have all heard how Beijing keeps tight control over the media at home. Now, it is expanding its propaganda machinery across the world.

For the Communist Party, the medium doesn't matter as long as its propaganda reaches far and wide.

The latest tool of delivery is a mobile app called "study the powerful country". This is a tool to teach the Xi Jinping thoughts, the policy and ideals of the Chinese president, that are now enshrined in China's constitution.

Beijing has effective tools to control the narrative at home. It now wants the same power beyond its borders.

China is now aggressively pushing its message on global social media websites.

An investigation by ProPublica has exposed Beijing's propaganda machinery. Since 2019, this website has tracked more than 10 thousand suspected fake Twitter accounts.

ProPublica says these accounts were involved in a coordinated influence campaign.

On first impressions, these accounts look like any average social media.

The fake profiles include a professor from North Carolina, a web designer in the United Kingdom and a business analyst from Australia.

ProPublica found that all of them shared pro-China posts, repeatedly on their accounts. They are all cogs in China's propaganda machine. 

However, the campaign to win influence is not just online.

China is trying to win over foreign journalists too.

Reportedly, since 2016, the Chinese government has paid several foreign journalists including from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan to participate in a 10-month long program. 

Reportedly, the journalists stayed in plush residences in Beijing during their training. They were given free tours to different Chinese provinces.

Even free language classes at the end of the program.

China is not only trying to win more positive coverage, but it is also shutting down criticism as well.

Recently, Beijing expelled journalists from the new york times, the wall street journal and the Washington Post.

Publications that have put out critical reports against the Communist party and now, China is using its propaganda machinery to counter the criticism over the coronavirus outbreak.

It is an attempt to turn the tide of negative press in its favour.