Move over Russia. China is waging a massive disinformation war in an attempt to destabilize the United States by scapegoating it for spreading the COVID-19 virus.
“An army of bot accounts linked to an alleged Chinese government-backed propaganda campaign is spreading disinformation on social media about coronavirus and other topics, including an exiled businessman, according to a London-based researcher,” Bloomberg News reported on May 12.
Bloomberg cited that the U.S. State Department’s Global Engagement Center claims to have found “a new network of inauthentic accounts” coordinating on Twitter. The center alleged that these accounts were “created with the intent to amplify Chinese propaganda and disinformation.”
Center Coordinator Lea Gabrielle stated that China was “adopting Russian-style disinformation techniques” to disrupt America and scapegoat its leadership. “That trend, she said, had escalated between March and May,” noted Bloomberg.
Gabrielle commented that “Beijing has engaged in an aggressive information campaign to try and reshape the global narrative around Covid.” She also commented that “It’s doing this in an attempt to make the world see China as the global leader in the response rather than the source of the pandemic.”
Twitter has denied the State Department’s claim, “saying an initial review of 5,000 accounts found no indication the accounts were unduly deferential or supportive of Chinese positions,” Bloomberg wrote.
Open Source Investigator Benjamin Strick claimed that “Between April 25 and May 3,” he found “more than 1,000 accounts on Twitter that were associated with the Chinese disinformation effort, as well as more than 50 different pages on Facebook,” reported Bloomberg. He also estimated that 300 or 400 pro-Chinese Twitter accounts were being made each day.
Strick explicitly stated that “I believe it’s a state-backed Chinese campaign.”
Graphika Inc. director of investigations Ben Nimmo said that these accounts found by Strick are likely linked to a network known as “Spamouflage Dragon,” reported Bloomberg. Spamouflage Dragon reportedly used social media to promote attacks on Hong Kong protesters.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded to the accusation of waging a disinformation war, saying that such accusations are “completely unfounded.”
Spokesperson & Deputy Director General, Information Department, Foreign Ministry of China Zhao Lijian claimed at a regular briefing in Beijing that “China opposes disinformation.” This is the same Chinese public official who speculated that the American military might be the source of the virus. Zhao said in a tweet: “It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”
The Chinese Embassy in France uploaded an absurd, Lego-based propaganda video at 10:54 a.m. Apr 30. The Ambassade de Chine en France’s video “Once Upon a Virus…” featured numerous demonstrably untrue myths, acting as if the Chinese communist government and World Health Organization have both been forthcoming about the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
China’s state sponsored propaganda on social media has been so egregious that Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Congressman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) signed a letter demanding that Twitter ban Chinese propaganda accounts.
The two Republicans sent a letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey demanding Twitter ban Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials and all foreign leaders who use Twitter while not allowing their citizens to do so:
“By banning Twitter in China, the Chinese Communist Party is keeping its citizens in the dark. By putting propaganda on Twitter, the Chinese Communist Party is lying to the rest of the world.”