US media reported last week that in the lead-up to the Beijing Winter Olympics, pro-China accounts have flooded Twitter with the hashtag #GenocideGames. According to a Wall Street Journal report:
February 8, 2022 Pro-China accounts have been flooding Twitter with messages that include the hashtag #GenocideGames, in what researchers say is an effort to dilute the hashtag’s power to galvanize criticism of the Winter Olympics host nation. Human-rights advocates and Western lawmakers have used the #GenocideGames hashtag to raise awareness about Xinjiang, a region in northwestern China where authorities have conducted forcible assimilation efforts against religious minorities, including Uyghur Muslims. Xinjiang has become a focal point for critics of China’s policies ahead of the Beijing Winter Olympics, which began last week.
Read the full report here.
Since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, China has spent billions of dollars to increase the reach of its state-run media outlets and bolster its reputation abroad. It has also spent significant resources to denounce Western criticism and divert attention away from China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang. In March 2021, an exclusive GIOR investigation exposed a Chinese influence operation where YouTube was flooded with hundreds of propaganda videos whitewashing China’s human rights violations in Xinjiang and pushing the hashtag #StopXinjiangRumors.
In January, we reported that China hired western social media influencers to spread positive stories about China throughout the Beijing Winter Olympics and Paralympics.