The Institute for Strategic Dialogue, a UK think tank, is reporting that in what is described as a “tectonic shift,” QAnon conspiracy communities are re-evaluating their stance on China amid the Ukraine crisis. According to the ISD report, since the invasion, Chinese President Xi Jinping appears to have been recast from a villain to a hero in the QAnon conspiracy pantheon:
March 23, 2022 Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought a deluge of disinformation to conspiracy groups on social media platforms. Amidst this chaos, a tectonic shift appears to be underway. QAnon-adjacent conspiracy groups have previously been hostile to China and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). However, the dynamics of the invasion are shifting their views. In an astoundingly short space of time, Xi Jinping appears to have been recast from a villain to a hero in the QAnon conspiracy pantheon. The events of the past three weeks are a powerful illustration of why this shift in perception matters. Along with claims that Xi is secretly working against the CCP (and against the global cabal with Trump and Putin), we can see concurrent shifts in attitudes towards Taiwan and potential for pro-Kremlin propaganda to act as a gateway to Chinese state media propaganda. The consequences of a Western conspiracy audience primed to receive narratives from the Chinese state could be dire.
Read the full report here.
The ISD report explains that QAnon and QAnon-adjacent groups have taken a strongly pro-Putin position during the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In turn, Putin’s alliance with China appears to have instigated a pro-Chinese turn within the formerly anti-China QAnon community. Mirroring Trump’s alleged fight against the US “deep state,” one such theory frames Chinese President Xi Jinping as a hero who is secretly working against the CCP “deep state.” Another suggests that China has secretly been working with Trump all along and that Trump’s odd pronunciation of “China” is, in fact, a coded reference to Ukraine. The ISD report also notes that pro-Kremlin propaganda may be a gateway for QAnon and conspiracy audiences into Chinese state propaganda.
The BBC describes QAnon as:
…a wide-ranging, unfounded conspiracy theory that says that President Trump is waging a secret war against elite Satan-worshipping paedophiles in government, business and the media .QAnon believers have speculated that this fight will lead to a day of reckoning where prominent people such as former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be arrested and executed.
Read the entire article here.
The Global Influence Operations Report has:
- Covered how Russian propaganda and disinformation have been echoed not only by Chinese officials but also amplified by QAnon conspiracy theorists
- Covered how Russia’s Internet Research Agency has used social media accounts to boost the role of conspiracy theories promoted by QAnon
- Reported that an online network tied to Chinese businessman Guo Wengui and former Trump advisor Steve Bannon has become a potent platform for disinformation in the United States, spreading baseless QAnon conspiracies