Chinese propaganda in the Middle East through social media and Twitter

There are many and varied methods of China in promoting its policies on social media, expressing the official Chinese government’s viewpoint. What is remarkable here, is the success of these Chinese methods in attracting Arabs, despite the delay in their presence on Arab media to clarify China’s policies towards all actual moves and reveal the facts from an official Chinese point of view in the first place.

  Here, a remarkable activity has recently been observed by Chinese Arabic-speaking journalists, media persons and activists on social networking sites, especially “Twitter”, from the official point of view of China.

  China has succeeded in building a vast digital infrastructure that allows it to control and monitor all social platforms, and to display the official views of the Chinese state and its ruling Communist Party.

  Here, the new official Chinese electronic propaganda methods rely on advanced programs, according to the Chinese government’s procurement documents, and these programs allow the Chinese authorities to conduct advanced research on public records and data related to all personal information about the targets and their whereabouts.

 Chinese digital propaganda is part of Beijing’s broader campaign to counter negative images of it.  All Chinese agencies, including China’s state-owned state media, propaganda departments, police and military, and electronic regulators, have procured several new and more advanced data-collection systems.

 The Chinese State Media Program has also succeeded in creating a database of foreign journalists and academics via (Twitter and Facebook for social networking globally), with a presentation of the official Chinese views with it.

 What defines China’s policies towards the Internet in general is the principle that there is no complete freedom, and the authorities of the ruling Communist Party in China set (seven red lines), which has been agreed upon at the (Chinese Internet Summit) which has been held in 2013 in (Gongguo City, capital of Hunan Province). Those red lines that should not be violated or endangered on the Internet, are represented in: law, socialism, political system, state interest, the rights of others, social systems, ethics, information health.

 There are more than 300 Chinese diplomats around the world, present in more than 120 countries, and each of them has an account via social networks of “Facebook or Twitter”, equivalent to more than 500 official accounts on those networks. The task of these accounts is to retweet, publish or like their posts by themselves or through other followers, which ultimately leads to the dissemination and expression of China’s viewpoint globally on all issues.

The most famous and most important person who used social networks to publicize the efforts of the Chinese government abroad was the former Chinese ambassador to Britain, Liu Xiaoming, who resigned in 2019, and was one of the most famous and most important Chinese diplomats in using Chinese propaganda in the evolving battle on the Internet globally.  .  Ambassador Liu Xiaoming joined Twitter in October 2019, as dozens of Chinese diplomats flocked to Twitter and Facebook, presenting and expressing China’s views in all countries of the world.

 Ambassador Liu Xiaoming succeeded in his mission and gained more than a quarter of a million followers, and promoted a model for China’s new diplomacy, known as “wolf warrior”, a term borrowed from the title of a highly profitable Chinese movie.  It means that China is one of the wolves, because there are wolves in the world, and you need warriors to repel them.

   The Chinese government has concluded agreements with a group of social media influencers in the world to improve China’s image in the world, attract tourists, confront counter-propaganda, and introduce the world to the tourist attractions there.  The Chinese authorities use more than 200 influencers on social media and social media globally, to promote China in more than 40 different languages, followed by more than 60 million people to promote tourism, culture and various positions of the Chinese government.  The activities of these influencers range from singing, cooking, travel, tourism and friendship between China and countries of the world.

   Here, China is working to create a counter force, to confront everything that is written about it globally from a point of view contrary to Beijing.  Therefore, China is spending very large sums to invite many African, Arab, Latin American, Asian and other Australian journalists to visit Beijing and form a view of Chinese society, to publicly present the views of the Chinese state on various issues, such as the issues of (Uyghur Muslims, Tibet, Hong Kong, Taiwan), and others. 

Dr.Nadia Helmy
Dr.Nadia Helmy
Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Politics and Economics / Beni Suef University- Egypt. An Expert in Chinese Politics, Sino-Israeli relationships, and Asian affairs- Visiting Senior Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)/ Lund University, Sweden- Director of the South and East Asia Studies Unit