China Joins in on Russia’s Information and Propaganda Campaign

  • The Politburo and security discussions center on how to limit or have an actual blackout of internet use for users that are deemed enemies to the Chinese people.
  • Pro-Russian sentiments being spread on Chinese social media are considered to be one's patriotic duty.
  • History tends to repeat itself and in this case China and Russia have always been different ideologically and in the long term incompatible.

In recent days, the Chinese media has been glorifying Russia and its various national and international accomplishments. Since all media is government run and there is a Great Firewall of China, the only news Chinese citizens can get is through the state-run and approved outlets.

China’s love for Russia is sincere. China’s aggressive propaganda campaign also comes during the time when changes are being discussed within the Chinese government to punish individuals who help to spread “pro-western propaganda.” Currently, the Politburo and security discussions center on how to limit or have an actual blackout of internet use for users that are deemed enemies to the Chinese people. Chinese security services are also looking to silence dissent being spread via social media apps like WeChat. The security findings are supposed to be finalized by the end of August, 2019.

Pro-Russian sentiments being spread on Chinese social media are considered to be one’s patriotic duty, and will elevate one’s social score. China now operates on a social standing “credit score.” One of the metrics that Chinese citizens are graded on is their online activities. The social score system is currently only in limited use. The full social score and its metrics will be fully rolled out by the year 2020.  The reasons behind are connected to China’s One Belt, One Road initiative, as well as tensions with the USA, Canada and the West.

Furthermore, one of the first and most popular internet news site in china, SOHU, published an article this month glorifying Russia.

全球那么多国家,为何唯独俄罗斯称战斗民族?这三点至今无人超越

The translation exerts from the article are naming Russia as one of the greatest world monarchies. The article is glorifying the power and strength of the Russian people and their triumph during the Napoleon era, etc. The article also provides inaccurate statements about the US, claiming the US military would rather give up if can’t win. It is creative social engineering propaganda, not based on actual facts or events.

Sohu, Inc. (Chinese: 搜狐) is a Chinese Internet company headquartered in the Sohu Internet Plaza in Haidian District, Beijing. Sohu and its subsidiaries offer advertising, a search engine, on-line multiplayer gaming and other services. It was ranked as the world’s third- and twelfth-fastest growing company by Fortune in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

The article makes a big deal of the age of the US, pointing out the nation is not as old in comparison to Russia and China. It is all strategic misinformation and due to internet censorship in China, indoctrination of its population. It also contains very misconstrued statements “proving” that the US is afraid of Russia. The outlet is also one of the main news sources in China, making it even more disturbing as the delivery of the so called “news.”

This article has been circulated within Russian social media as well, in order to solidify propaganda efforts.

Russia-China relations has been tumultuous.

During the Stalin era the first Soviet-China alliance manifested. It was expected to last 30 years. In the 1950s, the Soviets aided China to start their nuclear program and signed a memorandum of understanding between their atomic and rocket industries. The FAS (Federation of American Scientists) says they can only hypothetically predict the extent of that cooperation and what China actually gained during that time.

In the immediate years after the PRC was proclaimed, the Soviet Union became its closest ally. Moscow sent thousands of Soviet engineers and workers, and trainloads of machinery and tools. The Sino-Soviet Split was marked by small scale fighting in the Sino-Soviet border conflict in 1969. Moscow considered a preemptive nuclear strike. That never happened, but the Soviets did encourage Uyghurs to rebel against China.

In the 1960s, China-Soviet relations fizzled and China started warming up to the US and the West, eventually gearing towards Western manufacturing needs as China needed to fund their economy.

A lot of material was declassified after the Soviet Union collapsed. There are a myriad of views about why relations cooled. The probable cause was the successful embargo against China and the general success of the American’s at waging an economic cold war. Meanwhile,the Soviets ended up in a Cold War arms race with the West. Also, the geopolitical views in Eastern Europe differed between the Soviets and China. This resulted in the Soviets ending their aid to China’s nuclear program and refused to provide main technologies to China in the field.

History tends to repeat itself and in this case China and Russia have always been different ideologically and in the long term incompatible. The geopolitical differences previously will again contribute to the changing landscape and how the US handles the situation.

For now, China continues to show solidarity with Russia and act passive-aggressively towards the West. China is another one to watch in the battle against cyber propaganda campaigns.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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