ChinaJune 30 2022, 17:39 pm

Chinese Disinformation Campaign Targets Canadian Rare Earths Companies

Cana­di­an media is report­ing that a Chi­nese gov­ern­ment-linked online dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign is tar­get­ing two Cana­di­an rare earth com­pa­nies in an attempt to main­tain Chi­nese glob­al dom­i­nance in the sec­tor. Accord­ing to a report by the Globe and Mail:

June 28, 2022 A promi­nent U.S. cyber­se­cu­ri­ty firm is alleg­ing that Chi­nese gov­ern­ment-fund­ed cam­paigns are spread­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion about Cana­di­an rare earths min­er Appia Rare Earths & Ura­ni­um Corp. in an attempt to cement China’s dom­i­nance in the sec­tor and crush Cana­di­an ambi­tions.  Vir­ginia-based Man­di­ant Inc., which was found­ed by for­mer U.S. gov­ern­ment secu­ri­ty experts, said in a report that Toron­to-based Appia and two oth­er rare earth com­pa­nies, Lynas Rare Earths Ltd. LYSDY ‑5.05%decrease and USA Rare Earth LLC, were tar­get­ed by an online net­work called Drag­onbridge, a front for the People’s Repub­lic of Chi­na (PRC).  “Since rare earths min­er­al min­ing is of strate­gic sig­nif­i­cance to the PRC, and these enti­ties are chal­leng­ing the PRC’s glob­al mar­ket dom­i­nance in that indus­try, our experts believe Drag­onbridge is tar­get­ing this sec­tor to main­tain its advan­tage,” Man­di­ant wrote in an e‑mail to The Globe and Mail. […] In June, fol­low­ing encour­ag­ing drilling results at Appia’s Saskatchewan rare earths project, sev­er­al Twit­ter accounts that Man­di­ant said came from Drag­onbridge blast­ed out neg­a­tive com­men­taries attempt­ing to stir up pub­lic contempt.

Read the rest here.

The Man­di­ant report cit­ed by the Globe and Mail iden­ti­fied sev­er­al Drag­onbridge-linked Twit­ter accounts, includ­ing those pos­ing as local res­i­dents, which protest­ed Lynas’ planned con­struc­tion of a rare earth pro­cess­ing facil­i­ty in Texas. The report also says that the same net­work lat­er began tar­get­ing an addi­tion­al rare earth min­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­ny in the US, USA Rare Earth. Man­di­ant describes the Drag­onbridge cam­paign as follows:

June 28, 2022 Since June 2019, Man­di­ant has report­ed to cus­tomers on an influ­ence cam­paign known as DRAGONBRIDGE, com­pris­ing a net­work of thou­sands of inau­then­tic accounts across numer­ous social media plat­forms, web­sites, and forums that have pro­mot­ed var­i­ous nar­ra­tives in sup­port of the polit­i­cal inter­ests of the People’s Repub­lic of Chi­na (PRC). We have since observed mul­ti­ple shifts in DRAGONBRIDGE tac­tics, and in Sep­tem­ber 2021, we report­ed on an expan­sion of this campaign’s activity.

Read the rest here.

The Globe and Mail report notes that rare earths are used in a range of high-tech, clean tech­nol­o­gy, and mil­i­tary appli­ca­tions. In 2019, Chi­na was respon­si­ble for 80% of rare earths imports, accord­ing to the US Geo­log­i­cal Sur­vey, although exports fell in 2020 in part due to Covid-19.

In June, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report report­ed that Canada’s chief elec­tion watch­dog warned that online dis­in­for­ma­tion and for­eign inter­fer­ence are two of the biggest threats fac­ing Canada’s elec­toral system.


Comments are closed here.