onsdag 1. juni 2022

Despite High Ambition, China’s Media Influence Operation Is Far From Successful

CGTN, China’s English-language news media, has nearly 5 million more followers than CBS News on Twitter, yet it receives less than a quarter of CBS’s average retweets and likes per post. Despite being directed to “tell China’s story well,” Chinese state media is clearly failing to gain an authentic following outside the Great Firewall. Its struggle to influence stems from the organization’s incentive structure, which reflects shortcomings in China’s bureaucracy.

In recent years, China’s overseas influence operations have received scrutiny from the U.S. national security community. Many Washington officials and scholars treat China’s influence operations as a tremendous threat to U.S. strategic interests. Propaganda work has been a top priority of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP); Mao Zedong, who famously said that power comes from the barrel of guns, equated pens (propaganda) with guns as the two keys to the CCP’s victory. The Central Propaganda Department, which oversees China’s vast media network and regulates censorship, is a party organ rather than part of the government bureaucracy, keeping the “pens” tightly controlled.