US warns China on information efforts

In a recent report issued by the US State Department, the Chinese government has been accused of expanding its efforts to control information and disseminate propaganda and disinformation globally. The report, released by the Global Engagement Center, highlights China's potential to reshape the global information environment and emphasizes US concerns about China's influence not only as a military competitor but also as a rival in the battle over ideas and disinformation.

According to the report, Chinese President Xi Jinping has significantly increased China's efforts to shape the global information environment. The Chinese government allegedly spends billions of dollars annually on foreign information manipulation, pressuring state media to strengthen their propaganda efforts and tailor communication methods to influence foreign audiences. The report warns that Beijing aims to develop the capability to shape information consumption by specific groups and individuals, potentially leading to significant gaps and pro-Chinese biases in the international information landscape.

The report highlights both overt and covert Chinese efforts, with a particular focus on Asia, Africa, and Latin America. The popular social media app TikTok, owned by ByteDance, is mentioned in the report, stating that individuals advocating for Uyghur independence were likely blocked or restricted from all ByteDance platforms. Additionally, the report mentions an agreement between the Chinese government and a local newspaper in an East African country, where paid articles had no direct connection to China, as well as pre-programmed censorship on phones made by Chinese company Xiaomi in Lithuania.

Furthermore, the report cites cyberattacks initiated by Beijing against overseas Uyghurs and the detention and return of Uyghurs by various governments across Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa. The report also highlights China's cooperation with Russia to spread disinformation about Ukraine, echoing the Kremlin's claims.

Despite these concerning findings, the report ends on a somewhat optimistic note, stating that China's efforts have encountered setbacks in democratic countries. However, it warns that if China's operations are not effectively countered, it could lead to the reshaping of the international order to the detriment of individual liberties and national sovereignty around the world.


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