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EU Can’t Counter Chinese Disinformation Says EU Foreign Affairs Chief

April 6th, 2021 12:33

US media report­ed last month that accord­ing to its for­eign affairs chief, the EU does not have suf­fi­cient resources to counter Chi­nese dis­in­for­ma­tion attacks. Accord­ing to the POLITICO report:

March 1, 2021 The Euro­pean Union’s for­eign ser­vice doesn’t have the resources nor the author­i­ty to effec­tive­ly counter hybrid attacks com­ing from Chi­na, its for­eign affairs chief Josep Bor­rell said today.“Today, we don’t have a man­date to study dis­in­for­ma­tion about Chi­na,” Bor­rell, who heads the Euro­pean Exter­nal Action Ser­vice (EEAS), told mem­bers of the Euro­pean Parliament’s Spe­cial Com­mit­tee on For­eign Inter­fer­ence. He said the bloc had been under per­ma­nent pres­sure in the past year from coun­tries dis­tort­ing infor­ma­tion and spread­ing dis­in­for­ma­tion to advance polit­i­cal inter­ests. But while the EU has ramped up its work to debunk dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns from Moscow, “We have very lit­tle resources to study dis­in­for­ma­tion from China.”He added that EEAS lacked the “required” resources to counter Chi­nese cam­paigns to influ­ence Euro­pean pol­i­tics. Hybrid attacks “have been tar­get­ing our demo­c­ra­t­ic val­ues, our infor­ma­tion space and even our infra­struc­ture, our crit­i­cal infra­struc­ture” dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, he said, call­ing the glob­al health cri­sis “a real test­ing ground for new hybrid tactics.”The EU’s for­eign service’s dis­in­for­ma­tion depart­ment has a ded­i­cat­ed East Strat­com unit look­ing at Russ­ian dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns. Oth­er offi­cials mon­i­tor cam­paigns from across the world, but they are under­staffed and under­re­sourced to han­dle the increas­ing num­ber of hybrid attacks. Bor­rell said Europe was a dis­ad­van­tage in its efforts to pro­tect itself from Russia’s dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns tar­get­ing Europe: “We don’t have the capac­i­ty to pro­duce mas­sive­ly infor­ma­tion pre­sent­ing our views,” he said, adding the EU only had the abil­i­ty to flag and call out dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns as “an answer” to mas­sive dis­in­for­ma­tion campaigns.

Read the rest here.

Recent Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report on Chi­nese dis­in­for­ma­tion has included:

  • A report last month about a joint research project exam­in­ing and com­par­ing the false nar­ra­tives about Covid-19’s ori­gins in Chi­na, the US, Rus­sia, and Iran dur­ing the first six months of the virus’s outbreak.
  • A report from Feb­ru­ary on an Aus­tralian think-tank’s analy­sis of Chi­nese and Russ­ian influ­ence cam­paigns aimed at under­min­ing the Covid-19 vac­ci­na­tion programs.
  • A report from Jan­u­ary on a New York Times and ProP­ub­li­ca inves­ti­ga­tion into state-spon­sored Chi­nese dis­in­for­ma­tion efforts cen­tered on the Covid pandemic.
  • A report from Jan­u­ary on a CNN analyst’s view of Russ­ian efforts to spread COVID-relat­ed disinformation.
  • A report from Jan­u­ary on an EU analy­sis con­clud­ing that pro-Krem­lin media are try­ing to gen­er­ate sup­port for the Russ­ian Sput­nik V COVID vac­cine by shift­ing its dis­in­for­ma­tion narratives.