The US State Department has released a report accusing the Chinese government of engaging in widespread efforts to control information and spread propaganda and disinformation, both within China and globally. The report claims that President Xi Jinping has significantly expanded China’s efforts to shape the global information environment. It warns that China’s actions have the potential to reshape the international order and promote “digital authoritarianism”. The report also highlights concerns about China’s control tactics in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, citing examples such as the blocking of individuals on social media platforms and the coercion of local newspapers.
According to the report, China spends billions of dollars each year on foreign information manipulation and has directed state media to strengthen their propaganda efforts. The report highlights the alarming consequences of allowing China’s information manipulation to continue, including the destruction of democratic values and the erosion of the world’s secure rules and rights. The report also mentions China’s collaboration with Russia to spread disinformation about Ukraine and warns that if China’s operations are not countered, it will have a detrimental impact on individual liberties and national sovereignty worldwide.
While the report acknowledges that China’s efforts have encountered setbacks in democratic countries, it emphasizes the need for continued resistance to China’s reshaping of the international order. The report concludes by highlighting the importance of maintaining a world that is free from the Orwellian mix of fact and fiction promoted by China’s information control tactics. Special Envoy and Coordinator of the Global Engagement Center, James Rubin, emphasizes the need to prevent the slow destruction of democratic values and protect the world’s secure rules and rights.