An Australian government think tank has published a report looking at Chinese social media campaigns aimed at discrediting the BBC. According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute’s summary of the report:
March 4, 2021 Chinese Communist Party (CCP) diplomatic accounts, Chinese state media, pro-CCP influencers and patriotic trolls are targeting the UK public broadcaster, the BBC, in a coordinated information operation. Recent BBC reports, including the allegations of systematic sexual assault in Xinjiang’s internment camps, were among a number of triggers provoking the CCP’s propaganda apparatus to discredit the BBC, distract international attention and recapture control of the narrative. In ASPI ICPC’s new report, Albert Zhang and Dr Jacob Wallis provide a snapshot of the CCP’s ongoing coordinated response targeting the BBC, which leveraged YouTube, Twitter and Facebook and was broadly framed around three prominent narratives:
- That the BBC spreads disinformation and is biased against China
- That the BBC’s domestic audiences think that it’s biased and not to be trusted
- That the BBC’s reporting on China is instigated by foreign actors and intelligence agencies.
Read the full report here.
The social media content highlighted in the report is written in English, French, or Russian, indicating that it is aimed at Western audiences.
The ASPI report notes:
Chinese diplomatic and state media mentions of the BBC peaked on Facebook and Twitter on 5 February 2021 (the day after Ofcom revoked CGTN’s licence to broadcast in the UK) and on 12 February 2021 (when the BBC was banned from broadcasting in China.
Last week, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported on the UK’s revocation of China Global Television’s TV license and China’s subsequent ban of the BBC.
Other GIOR reporting on China’s influence campaigns has included:
- Earlier this week, we published an exclusive report about a YouTube campaign whitewashing China’s treatment of its Uyghur population.
- In January 2021, we recommended a study on China’s use of information manipulation in regional and global competition.
- In the same month, we reported that Swiss media had identified over 230 organizations as part of China’s overt and covert influence operations in Germany.