mandag 18. oktober 2021

China's propaganda machine is intensifying its 'people's war' to catch American spies

"Let's fight a 'people's war' against the spies, so that they cannot move a single step and have no place to hide!" That was the rallying cry of a Chinese military newspaper on social media over the weekend, as Beijing urges public vigilance against American espionage following the launch of a CIA mission center dedicated to China. Beijing's propaganda apparatus is now intensifying a years-long campaign, following CIA director William Burns' October 7 announcement the China Mission Center would counter what he called "the most important geopolitical threat we face in the 21st century."

A video by Chinese state broadcaster CCTV claimed -- without citing sources -- the CIA was recruiting Chinese-speaking agents who understand not only Mandarin, but also various tongues including Cantonese, Shanghainese, Hakka and Hokkien.

The clip, published Saturday, was widely carried by state media outlets on social media and immediately went viral. On Weibo, China's heavily censored version of Twitter, a related hashtag became the top trending topic on Saturday, and has since garnered more than 280 million views. Nationalists flocked to the US embassy in China's official Weibo account, leaving mocking comments detailing their proficiencies in Chinese dialects and demanding to be recruited.