US media is reporting that various experts have concluded that Chinese influence operations pose a greater long term threat to the US than do Russian efforts. According to an NBC News report:
While U.S. intelligence experts generally agree that Russia is better than any other country at spreading disinformation to undermine voter confidence leading up to the election, security experts have been preoccupied with a longer-term threat. They fear that the Chinese government’s disinformation operations pose a far more insidious menace to democracy that will continue well past Election Day. Scholars studying the efforts say the Chinese are growing bolder and more brazen, often taking pages from what used to be seen as Russia’s playbook in discrediting the United States. It’s a pattern so troubling to global intelligence officials that last week, Ken McCallum, the incoming intelligence chief of the British domestic security service, MI5, said that if Russia’s influence operations are like bad weather, China’s growing operations are like climate change — far more destructive. “We are in a competition between democratic systems and autocratic systems of government,” said Laura Rosenberger, director of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, part of the nonprofit German Marshall Fund of the United States, who follows the changing dynamics. “China has grown in its geopolitical and economic clout and is trying to portray itself as a system that is equally legitimate to democratic governance. That is fundamentally in opposition to U.S. interests.”
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Although the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) has reported that the US National Security Advisor claimed last month, without evidence, that China was the most active of the countries trying to interfere in the upcoming US elections, we also reported that the recently released US Department of Homeland Security “Homeland Threat Assessment” failed to even mention Chinese efforts regarding the upcoming US elections. Instead, it focused on Chinese operations centered on the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a Washington Post report recently discussed by the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR), China has been actively trying to interfere in the elections, notably “bashing” US President Trump:
This month, new research from Graphika, a social media analysis company, showed that a network of fake Chinese accounts has been posting videos bashing Trump, criticizing his recent closure of China’s consulate in Houston, his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his threats to ban the popular social media app TikTok. The researchers also found the first direct reference to Biden — a bunch of flattering pictures — from the Chinese network, which has a history of rapidly churning out videos with awkwardly worded English subtitles and narration. The group hasn’t been directly linked to the Chinese government and it isn’t clear whether the intended audience for the videos was Chinese, American or a combination. But its overarching goal seems to be defending Chinese interests, which is in line with the U.S. intelligence assessment.
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