China has changed the former style of their foreign propaganda and more and more uses in the period of the pandemic the Russian developments, said in an interview with DW expert “Alliance for the defence of democracy” Kristine Berzina.
The wider pandemic COVID-19, the louder the accusations of the EU and other Western countries against Russia and China, extending, say, more fakes related coronavirus. One of online resources where you can track messages from Russia – Hamilton 2.0. At the initiative of the “German Marshall Fund of the United States” (The German Marshall Fund of the United States, GMF) this platform is “Alliance for democracy” (Alliance for Securing Democracy, ASD).
Unlike the working group, EU strategic communications Vostok, created to expose disinformation in Russian and foreign Pro-Kremlin media Hamilton 2.0 keeps track of messages only government officials and media. With APR platform includes information from China. In the “Alliance for the defence of democracy” noted that with the beginning of the pandemic in the fashion industry, China began to use Russian experience of manipulation of information. Of a new tactic of Beijing in an interview with DW said the Brussels expert ASD Kristine Berzina.
– Deutsche Welle: What was the Chinese propaganda earlier?
– Kristine Berzina: China normally tries to present yourself in a positive light. We have seen many information campaigns which aim to show that China is a friendly country, to assist that investment from Chinese companies and cooperation with China in infrastructure projects are mutually beneficial.
In parallel, suppressed critical information about China. For example, last year we saw a member of the American National basketball Association (NBA) has spoken in support of protests in Hong Kong. This caused a negative reaction in Beijing and the broadcast of the games was prohibited. While China is an important market for the NBA.
– What has changed now?
– With the crown of the crisis we noticed a deviation from the previous line. China began issuing conflicting information and to sow confusion, for example, regarding the origin of the virus SARS-CoV-2. Such was and remains the Russian campaign of misinformation. The idea is to put into question the very existence of truth. As in the case of poisoning Sergei Skripal in the UK and the downed Boeing MH17 over Ukraine, made by as many various and sometimes mutually exclusive versions of what happened. The goal is to confuse people, and give them the impression that truth does not exist. This is a traditional Russian tactic that China has adopted in the context of the coronavirus.
– Could you give examples?
– Since March, reports or official representative of the foreign Ministry of China Zhao Lijiang, or the state-funded media on the possible sources of coronavirus. It seems that one of the purposes is to refute the information about the alleged Chinese origin of the virus. So, Zhao Lijiang disseminating the conspiracy theory that the virus was invented in the United States.
Russian sources also, there was misinformation that the coronavirus is a US biological weapon. There are some similarities. But in the case of Chinese fakes distributes the official representative the Ministry of foreign Affairs, and advises that information sharing that did not fail to make many Chinese ambassadors and official sites.
– You talked about conflicting versions…
– Here’s an example: funded by Chinese government media CGTN has distributed a video with the doctor from Italy, which contains the allusion to the Italian origin of the unusual pneumonia COVID-19. Version that the virus originated from USA and from Italy to contradict each other. But they offer an alternative theory that prevent to establish the truth. And that’s what we call the Russian tactics.
– Russian state media Sputnik and RT (Russia Today ) in the last few weeks have criticised the EU for what he allegedly helped Italy to fight the pandemic, while Russia has helped. Arrives if so and Beijing?
– Chinese officials and state media also criticized the US and the EU, accused of incompetence in combating the pandemic, and pay great attention to the theme of lack of cooperation and lack of solidarity within the EU. And for China, for Russia it is important to weaken the European Union and the United States. In this approach China is also becoming more Russian. In fact, besides the effort to present China in a favorable light, we see attempts to weaken the unity of the European Union.
– Why do you think China began to use Russian tactics of propaganda?
– Reasons I don’t know, but the last decade has shown that the Russian information machine proved to be very effective in terms of impact on people’s way of thinking, and very economical. We see that Chinese government sources are now directly exploiting content, for example, RT. Here is an example of the Chinese Embassy in France.