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China Amplifying Russian Disinformation on Ukraine EU Foreign Policy Body Finds

April 13th, 2022 11:59

Euro­pean media is report­ing that accord­ing to the EU’s for­eign pol­i­cy body, Chi­na is fre­quent­ly repeat­ing Russ­ian rhetoric on the Ukraine war, in many cas­es ampli­fy­ing Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion. Accord­ing to a Eurac­tiv report:

April 7, 2022 Chi­na is push­ing nar­ra­tives about the war in Ukraine, in many cas­es ampli­fy­ing Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion, accord­ing to the EU’s for­eign pol­i­cy body. China’s state-backed media fre­quent­ly repeat dom­i­nant Krem­lin rhetoric on the war, includ­ing denials of atroc­i­ties and the attri­bu­tion of blame for the con­flict to NATO and the US, says EUvs­Dis­in­fo, a dis­in­for­ma­tion analy­sis project run by the Euro­pean Exter­nal Action Ser­vice. While Chi­na has sought to posi­tion itself as some­what neu­tral and a poten­tial medi­a­tor in the con­flict, the coun­try has refused to con­demn Russia’s actions or sup­port inter­na­tion­al sanc­tions. China’s mes­sag­ing on the war, par­tic­u­lar­ly its own rela­tion­ship to it, is var­ied, Kat­ja Drin­hausen, senior ana­lyst at the Mer­ca­tor Insti­tute for Chi­na Stud­ies (MERICS), told EURACTIV. Still, she not­ed that there had been close align­ment with Russ­ian media from the start. “The ques­tion at the begin­ning was ‘is this just oppor­tunis­tic behav­iour or falling into kind of pre­de­fined pat­terns of coop­er­a­tion?’”, she said. Video-shar­ing app Tik­Tok has lim­it­ed ser­vices in Rus­sia after it passed a law crim­i­nal­is­ing shar­ing “false” infor­ma­tion about the war in Ukraine. The move makes it one of the first Chi­nese com­pa­nies to boy­cott Moscow fol­low­ing the inva­sion. EUvs­Dis­in­fo says Chi­na has sought to main­tain a neu­tral role while refrain­ing from con­demn­ing Russia’s actions and align­ing itself with nar­ra­tives that the project describes as “bor­rowed from the Kremlin’s play­book”. Among the most promi­nent is the line that anti-Chi­na and anti-Rus­sia sen­ti­ment from NATO and the US pushed Rus­sia into con­fronta­tion. Oth­er nar­ra­tives have includ­ed con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries about US-run mil­i­tary bio­labs and rep­e­ti­tions of the Kremlin’s jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of the inva­sion on the grounds of “de-naz­i­fy­ing” Ukraine. Con­tribut­ing to the com­mon nar­ra­tives on the war that have emerged in recent weeks are links between Chi­nese and Russ­ian state media out­lets that long pre-date the cri­sis, includ­ing for­mal con­tent-shar­ing agree­ments in place for sev­er­al years.

Read the rest here.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) has been report­ing exten­sive­ly on increas­ing evi­dence of coor­di­na­tion between Russ­ian and Chi­nese dis­in­for­ma­tion on Ukraine:

  • On April 7, we report­ed that close ties between Russ­ian and Chi­nese state media and strict gov­ern­ment con­trol of infor­ma­tion have allowed Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion on Ukraine to spread swift­ly through­out China.
  • On March 16, we report­ed a dis­in­for­ma­tion researcher had found a clear over­lap on Twit­ter between pro-Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da pushed by inau­then­tic accounts and gen­uine Chi­nese offi­cials ampli­fy­ing the US bioweapons con­spir­a­cy theory.
  • On March 14, we report­ed China’s ampli­fi­ca­tion of false Russ­ian claims about the US and bio­log­i­cal weapons labs in Ukraine shows that the two coun­tries are increas­ing­ly coor­di­nat­ing their dis­in­for­ma­tion efforts.