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Chinese Diaspora Targeted By Chinese-State-Linked Social Media Manipulation

July 8th, 2021 14:15

The Aus­tralian Strate­gic Pol­i­cy Insti­tute (ASPI), an Aus­tralian think tank, is report­ing that Chi­nese-state-linked social media accounts are run­ning a cross-plat­form dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign tar­get­ing the Chi­nese dias­po­ra, using the #StopAsian­Hate cam­paign to deflect crit­i­cism. Accord­ing to ASPI’s The Strate­gist report:

July 1, 2021 Chi­nese dias­po­ra com­mu­ni­ties con­tin­ue to be an ‘essen­tial tar­get’ of Chi­nese-state-linked social media manip­u­la­tion tak­ing place around the world. Chi­nese-state-linked accounts are run­ning a mul­ti­lin­gual, cross-plat­form cam­paign aimed at stok­ing the fears of these com­mu­ni­ties by draw­ing false equiv­a­lences between anti-Asian racism and increased spec­u­la­tion about Covid-19 lab­o­ra­to­ry-leak the­o­ries. This cam­paign illus­trates the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party’s com­mon tac­tic of using accu­sa­tions of racism to deflect crit­i­cism. The #StopAsian­Hate hash­tag was start­ed by Asian-Amer­i­cans in March in an effort to end racial­ly moti­vat­ed attacks and dis­crim­i­na­tion. […] The same hash­tag is now being used to smear Hong Kong doc­tor Li-Meng Yan, who has pub­lished three con­tro­ver­sial arti­cles claim­ing that the nov­el coro­n­avirus SARS-CoV­‑2 was arti­fi­cial­ly cre­at­ed in a Chi­nese lab­o­ra­to­ry. A search of the hash­tags #StopAsian­Hate and #LiMengYan on Twit­ter between April and June 2021 returns over 30,000 tweets and retweets from more than 6,000 sus­pi­cious accounts. All post­ed the same set of hash­tags, memes, Eng­lish phrases.

Read the rest here.

Last month, the New York Times pub­lished a major inves­ti­ga­tion into a Chi­nese dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign on YouTube, first cov­ered in March by the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR).

Oth­er recent GIOR report­ing on Chi­nese influ­ence oper­a­tions on social media has included:

  • In June, we high­light­ed a report ana­lyz­ing a Chi­nese cyber cam­paign that com­bined cyber attacks with infor­ma­tion operations.
  • In May, we report­ed that a large-scale, pro-Chi­na net­work on Twit­ter is ampli­fy­ing Chi­nese offi­cial gov­ern­ment and state media accounts.
  • In April, we report­ed that Chi­na employs an exten­sive net­work of more than 20 mil­lion “inter­net com­men­ta­tors” to ampli­fy con­tent favor­able to the Chi­nese government.