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.