Hacked Russian Files Reveal Propaganda Agreement With China

hacked russian files reveal propaganda agreement with china scaled

Russian officials pushed the lies first. Soon after Russia invaded Ukraine, a Russian defense ministry spokesperson resuscitated debunked claims about a U.S.-funded bioweapons program in the region, accusing Ukrainian labs of experimenting with bat coronaviruses in an attempt to spark “the covert spread of deadliest pathogens.” Disinformation is an old Russian government tactic. But this time Russia had help. Within days, Chinese officials and media outlets had picked up the lies and were amplifying and expanding on the biolabs yarn. The Chinese Communist Party tabloid Global Times created two splashy…

Without a Covid Narrative, China’s Censors Are Not Sure What to Do

without a covid narrative chinas censors are not sure what to do

Since China dropped its strict “zero Covid” policy, a joke has been making the rounds on social media about the sudden shift. Three men who don’t know each other sit in a prison cell. Each explains why he was arrested:“I opposed Covid testing.”“I supported Covid testing.”“I conducted Covid testing.” The joke has yet to be broadly censored. It is a sign of just how much the Chinese Communist Party, usually a master of messaging, is struggling to come up with a coherent explanation for the policy shift and a clear…

An Alternate Reality: How Russia’s State TV Spins the Ukraine War

an alternate reality how russias state tv spins the ukraine war

Collaboration between the Kremlin and state broadcasters dates back more than two decades, said Mr. Gatov, a former Russian journalist and an expert on state propaganda. Each day, the Kremlin provides a list of talking points for broadcasters. The closely guarded document, known as the “temnik,” is delivered to senior officials at V.G.T.R.K. and other organizations, outlining issues the Kremlin wants covered, positively or negatively, along with views to endorse and people to criticize, said Mr. Gatov, who has seen copies. The Kremlin’s tight control of the media has increased…

China Eases ‘Zero Covid’ Restrictions in Victory for Protesters

china eases zero covid restrictions in victory for protesters

The Chinese government announced on Wednesday a broad easing of its exceptionally stringent Covid restrictions, an implicit concession to public discontent after mass street protests in more than a dozen cities a week ago challenged Beijing’s authority. The changes are not a complete dismantling of China’s “zero Covid” policy, but still represent a considerable loosening of measures that have dragged down the economy by disrupting daily life for hundreds of millions of people, forcing many small businesses to shutter and driving youth unemployment to nearly 20 percent, a record high.…

After Fanning Covid Fears, China Must Now Try to Allay Them

after fanning covid fears china must now try to allay them

For nearly three years, the Chinese government deployed its considerable propaganda apparatus to fan fears about Covid to justify large-scale quarantines, frequent mass testing and the tracking of more than a billion people. As the authorities now shift their approach to the pandemic, they face the task of downplaying those fears. Until the past week, during which there were rallies voicing extraordinary public opposition to the stringent “zero Covid” rules, government officials and state media were still emphasizing the most ominous medical news about the pandemic. There were countless stories…

Outbreaks Test China’s Efforts to Limit the Cost of ‘Zero Covid’

outbreaks test chinas efforts to limit the cost of zero covid

Barely a week after no longer requiring residents to show a negative Covid test to use mass transit, the authorities in the northern Chinese city of Shijiazhuang have locked down much of the city for five days as infections surge. In Shanghai, many neighborhoods have begun requiring frequent Covid tests again only days after telling residents that the tests were seldom needed. And across much of Beijing, officials have ordered schools and many businesses to close as daily cases rose over the past week to more than 1,400 and the…

What Happened to Hu Jintao?

what happened to hu jintao

It was the lone disruption in one of the most closely choreographed events in China: The country’s former top leader, Hu Jintao, was suddenly led out of the closing ceremony of the Chinese Communist Party’s twice-a-decade congress. The congress, where China’s next leaders are anointed, is the single most important political event for a ruling party fixated on control. Every detail, whether it is the outcome of its elections or how servers pour tea, is planned. Nothing unscripted happens. Nothing unscripted is allowed to happen. Except this year, it did.…

Beijing Turns Into a Fortress Ahead of the Communist Party Congress

beijing turns into a fortress ahead of the communist party congress

BEIJING — They lounge in folding chairs, perch on traffic bollards or pace small circles to keep warm. They are stationed every 100 feet or so, keeping watch over their designated patch of Beijing street. Their bright red wind-breakers and matching armbands spell out their roles as “Neighborhood Security Volunteers.” Their mission is straightforward: guarantee that nothing disrupts an all-important Chinese Communist Party congress that begins Sunday, where the top leader, Xi Jinping, is expected to claim a third term. The volunteers, who have blanketed Beijing in recent days, are…

China’s ‘Absurd’ Covid Propaganda Stirs Rebellion

chinas absurd covid propaganda stirs rebellion

“We have won the great battle against Covid!” “History will remember those who contributed!” “Extinguish every outbreak!” These are among the many battle-style slogans that Beijing has unleashed to rally support around its top-down, zero-tolerance coronavirus policies. China is now one of the last places on earth trying to eliminate Covid-19, and the Communist Party has relied heavily on propaganda to justify increasingly long lockdowns and burdensome testing requirements that can sometimes lead to three tests a week. The barrage of messages — online and on television, loudspeakers and social…

In Central Asia’s ‘Great Game,’ China Seeks the Advantage

in central asias great game china seeks the advantage

BEIJING — As Xi Jinping, China’s leader, visited Central Asian countries this week, he stepped off planes to rousing performances by rows of dancers, musicians and ceremonial guards. Uzbekistan’s leader called him “the greatest statesman,” Chinese state media declared, while the leader of Turkmenistan praised his “wise leadership.” They draped him in medals. For Beijing, the pomp and fanfare that greeted Mr. Xi, as well as the effusive rhetoric of his counterparts, served to show that China is not isolated despite coming under pressure from the United States and much…