The Global Engagement Center of the U.S. Department of State released a special report on China’s efforts to reshape the global information environment on September 28, 2023.
The report states that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) is spending billions of dollars annually on foreign information efforts. “Beijing uses false or biased information to promote positive views of the PRC and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). At the same time, the PRC suppresses critical information that contradicts its desired narratives on issues such as Taiwan, its human rights practices, the South China Sea, its domestic economy, and international economic engagement. More broadly, the PRC seeks to cultivate and uphold a global incentive structure that encourages foreign governments, elites, journalists, and civil society to accept its preferred narratives and avoid criticizing its conduct,” says the report.
The report identifies five elements to the PRC efforts to reshape the global information environment: “leveraging propaganda and censorship, promoting digital authoritarianism, exploiting international organizations and bilateral partnerships, pairing cooptation and pressure, and exercising control of Chinese-language media.”
The report warns that if “unchecked, Beijing’s efforts could result in a future in which technology exported by the PRC, coopted local governments, and fear of Beijing’s direct retaliation produce a sharp contraction of global freedom of expression.”