Canberra [Australia], March 5 (ANI): The Chinese government has an international campaign to undermine a British media outlet covering the atrocities faced by Uyghurs and discredit its reporting during the first two months of the year, using western social media networks, as per an Australian thinktank.
According to the Australian Strategic Policy Institute's report titled "Trigger Warning", the attacks intensified in response to high-profile BBC reports, including an investigation into systemic rape in internment camps in Xinjiang that was broadcast in February.
"Chinese Communist Party (CCP) diplomatic accounts, Chinese state media, pro-CCP influencers and patriotic trolls are targeting the UK public broadcaster, the BBC, in a coordinated information operation. Recent BBC reports, including the allegations of systematic sexual assault in Xinjiang's internment camps, were among a number of triggers provoking the CCP's propaganda apparatus to discredit the BBC, distract international attention and recapture control of the narrative," the report read.
It added that the CCP's coordinated response targeting the BBC, which leveraged YouTube, Twitter and Facebook and was broadly framed around three prominent narratives:
"The BBC spreads disinformation and is biased against China; the BBC's domestic audiences think that it's biased and not to be trusted and the BBC's reporting on China is instigated by foreign actors and intelligence agencies," the report read.
"The CCP's influence apparatus increasingly exploits both pre-existing narratives and content that it sources from Chinese and Western social media and fringe websites, knowing that some of those narratives already have degrees of recognition and resonance that will engage audiences, making them more receptive to the party's distraction tactics and preferred narrative spin," it said further.
The report also pointed out that the expanded presence of its diplomats, media and influencers on Western social media platforms extends the party's discourse power, allowing it to reach directly into international political discourse when the CCP's reputation is on the line.
"Critique of its systematic surveillance and control of minority ethnic groups, framed in terms of human rights, is particularly sensitive for the CCP. On this issue, to contest and blunt criticism the party will continue to aggressively deploy its propaganda and disinformation
apparatus. This is because it believes domestic control to be fundamental to its political power and legitimacy and because controlling global narratives around key public issues is fundamental to the pursuit of its foreign policy interests," the report read further.
Meanwhile, China declined to provide data on the number of people in the camps. Beijing had initially denied the very existence of the camps, but now claims that they are educational and vocational centres and that everyone has "graduated."
Uyghurs make up most of the one million people who the UN estimates have been held in camps in Xinjiang as part of what the central government calls a campaign against terrorism.
Also, Beijing has rejected calls for an independent UN investigation into Xinjiang's internment program. Journalists and diplomats are not allowed access to the camps outside of tightly controlled government tours.
Joe Biden's administration has called China's treatment of Uyghurs genocide, a position recently adopted by Canada and the Netherlands.
China faces sanctions such as a ban on US purchases of cotton and tomatoes from Xinjiang and calls from some Western lawmakers to boycott the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. (ANI)