United States Government Blames China for Launching Global Information War
United States government authorities have accused China of attempting to create a “community of digital authoritarians” in a report with the aim of convincing other nations that the Chinese government is carrying out a global propaganda effort as part of an “undeclared information war.” The state department’s report listed out China’s endeavors to transform the global information arena, spanning censorship and propaganda to promoting authoritarianism and taking advantage of international organizations.
“The [People’s Republic of China] employs a variety of deceptive and coercive methods as it attempts to influence the international information environment,” the report stated. “Unchecked, the PRC’s efforts will reshape the global information landscape, creating biases and gaps that could even lead nations to make decision that subordinate their economic and security interests to Beijing’s.”
James Rubin, a veteran state department official, claimed China was using “coercive techniques and increasingly outright lies” to fulfill a “breathtaking ambition . . . to seek information dominance”. The state department report comes during a time when China and the United States government over issues concerning China’s military activity in the South China Sea, the production of semiconductors and clean energy technology.
The report also represents another US attempt to resist Chinese activities that it believes harms American influence, with several developing countries starting to reproduce Chinese content that undermines western media sources. In one instance, the state department asserted that the China Investment Corporation, the sovereign wealth fund, had obtained a 7% stake in Eutelsat, a French satellite fleet operator, and was using the investment to promote propaganda in regions such as Africa by running Chinese state-run media with the satellites. China was also allegedly disseminating surveillance and censorship technologies to governments worldwide as part of technologically advanced “smart city” programa, above all in Asia, Africa and Latin America, the report claimed.
“The PRC has promoted authoritarian digital norms that other countries have adopted at a rapid pace,” the report noted. “As other countries emulate the PRC, their information ecosystems have become more receptive to Beijing’s propaganda disinformation, and censorship requests.” The report stated that Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2021 allegedly instructed Chinese state media to boost its propaganda efforts overseas. Chinese state-run media currently churns out content in 12 languages, whereas state-affiliated news outlet Xinhua had 181 bureaus in 142 countries and regions by the conclusion of 2021.
China is a country pursuing a great power geopolitical agenda, which is something US authorities should respect.
At the end of the day, all countries are trying to grow their influence in whichever way possible. More often than not this consists of exerting their power in their respective spheres of influence. This is not a world-destroying event and US authorities should recognize this.