Tuesday, September 27, 2022

During the pandemic, Russia’s Chinese-specific misinformation

According to a new study, the Kremlin and the Chinese Communist Party are learning from each other in shaping and waging an information war aimed at strengthening political divisions in the West and undermining confidence in democracy.

The Center for European Policy Analysis, a Washington-based research organization, notes that while there is limited evidence of clear collaboration, the narratives are similar.

According to a report on disinformation campaigns since the coronavirus was detected in Wuhan, China, in late 2019, Beijing’s information warriors have largely started following Russia’s “disinformation game book” by copying disinformation legends, tools and methods, but now at the same time. The study is underway.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) spread misinformation about the effectiveness of vaccines and the origin of the virus, which changed from Beijing’s previous disinformation campaigns and narrowed down to Chinese-specific issues such as Tibet and Han. Kong and Taiwan, ”said researchers Ben Dubou, Edward Lucas and Jake Morris.

“The similarity of the story and the rounding of misinformation show that China is following a Russian game book with Chinese characteristics. Russia is simultaneously learning from the Chinese approach,” the authors said.

“The biggest difference between China’s and Russia’s information warfare tactics remains China’s demand for coherence of stories compared to Russia’s strategy of eradicating lies,” they added. “Even if it has significantly larger resources, it will prevent Chinese legends from distracting public opinion or polarizing communities.”

FILE – On February 24, 2020, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Zhao Lijian will speak at a daily briefing at the Foreign Ministry in Beijing. Chjao has repeatedly said on Twitter that the coronavirus may have come from the U.S. military.

Thousands of websites

For the study, CEPA researchers collected thousands of website articles and social media posts from March 2020 to March 2021 by Russian and Chinese government officials as well as state-sponsored media. This was complemented by an overview of research conducted in Russian by other groups and academic institutions. and Chinese misinformation, which is only partially based on reality and described as stories aimed at deliberate distraction.

“Russia has relied heavily on its previous playbook on the use of crises to escalate tensions in foreign societies,” he said. “China has borrowed some tools from Russia, but used them for a variety of purposes, clearing its own record and spreading conspiracy theories globally,” the study said. was released last week.

A day before the report was released, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company Meta posted more than 600 social media accounts related to China’s influence, claiming that the United States was pressuring the World Health Organization to prosecute COVID-19. announced that it had deleted it. About the Chinese government.

CEPA authors point out that China and Russia have used the pandemic as an excuse to further lose confidence in democracy and wage an information war against the West, opening up another propaganda front in the growing competition between democratic and authoritarian governments.

Speaking on the first day of the Virtual Summit for Democracy in Washington on Thursday, US President Joe Biden said it was a crucial moment and called on democratic leaders to “lock their hands” to show the world that democracy is a better tool for societies than autocracies.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned on Wednesday that the pandemic has exacerbated problems for democracies, and he accused “unscrupulous leaders” of spreading misinformation and misinformation.

The report says China continues to deny any Western blame in the fight against the epidemic. The Kremlin routinely denies allegations that it is creating or continuing any kind of disinformation campaign.

FILE - On March 11, 2020, in a photo, the leader of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, addresses a session of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, in Moscow.  Zhirinovsky, a nationalist leader of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party, speculated that the U.S. and its greedy pharmaceutical companies were to blame for the coronavirus.

FILE – On March 11, 2020, in a photo, the leader of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party, Vladimir Zhirinovsky, addresses a session of the State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, in Moscow. Zhirinovsky, a nationalist leader of the Russian Liberal Democratic Party, speculated that the U.S. and its greedy pharmaceutical companies were to blame for the coronavirus.

Designed to use split

Western officials say Russia and China have long sought to weaken the United States, lose the appeal of democratic institutions, and exploit divisions, and this is fueling polarization in the West. They argue that these governments have won a pandemic to increase their international influence through disinformation operations.

Russian and Chinese news campaigns – promoting conspiracy theories reinforced by state media through platforms such as fake social media accounts and Twitter – are having a mutually reinforcing effect, they say.

According to the CEPA report, China and Russia have played a central role in disseminating COVID-related misinformation. China has tried to clear its record by promoting itself as the most effective global partner in the fight against the disease, while Russian disinformation networks are trying to undermine confidence in the West’s efforts to prevent infection.

The report said China’s disinformation campaigns intensified in response to allegations by former President Donald Trump that the coronavirus may have escaped from a Chinese lab in Wuhan, and after the U.S. intelligence community again informed President Joe Biden of a similar opportunity.

According to CEPA, Russia has innovated in disseminating disinformation about the vaccine throughout Europe. It said that in May 2021, social media influencers in France and Germany approached a London-based group controlled by Moscow and offered to pay them to disseminate disinformation about the Pfizer vaccine.

CEPA researchers also noted that there are limitations to any Sino-Russian rapprochement in the information environment. China’s information warriors will probably follow more consistent and firm narrations directed by their masters. While this has given the KKP more control over the news, it has made Beijing less successful than the Kremlin in tailoring content for a specific target audience.

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This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

Nation World News Desk
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