China and Russia continue disinformation campaigns on Ukraine

Illustrative photo.

Very dense since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Russia’s disinformation operations on the war have ebbed a little after a month of conflict, when Moscow undertook to reorganize its armed forces on the ground. These information campaigns are no less massive, and coordinated with China.

Evidenced by the Hamilton 2.0 barometer of the think tank German Marshall Fund of America (GMF). Its latest data shows that between March 24 and March 30, the activity of Chinese accounts on Twitter still perfectly follows the curve of their Russian counterparts on the subject of Ukraine, with between 2,000 and 3,500 new messages per day for each. NATO is the first keyword disseminated, equally by actors from both countries. The basic message, recalls the GMF, is to criticize the United States and NATO.

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On the social network, the Russian embassy in Peru, that of Mexico, and the account of the Russian channel RT in Spanish, have been in recent days the biggest relays of messages in the service of the aggression against Ukraine. RT in Spanish is the most influential Russian account, ahead of national RT and the Russian foreign ministry. These transmitters, however, reach a smaller audience than the Russian diplomatic representations in Uganda and South Africa, whose likes are counted in the tens of thousands.

“Create confusion”

Between March 24 and March 30, major Chinese accounts followed suit – the most influential being that of consul general in Belfast Zhang Meifang, foreign affairs spokesman Lijian Zhao and state television. , CGTN. “Among the tweets related to Ukraine, the salient narrative was criticism of NATO, mostly related to the anniversary of the start of NATO’s bombing campaign in Serbia during the Kosovo war”, indicates the GMF. During this week, “NATO was the third most used word in key phrases, and the fourth most used hashtag in tweets from Chinese diplomats and state media, while Serbia was the third most mentioned country after China and United States “.

Addressing, in addition to Ukraine, all the topics of official propaganda, the cultural adviser of the Chinese embassy in Pakistan, Zhang Heqing, is the largest transmitter on the social network – with more than 2,000 tweets, he generated 162,000 retweets and 700,000 likes in one week.

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“The semantics of Russia taken up by the authoritarian regimes on the “special operation” or the “liberation of Donbass” begins to be taken up without quotation marks in the press”, worried Lutz Güllner, head of strategic communication at the European External Action Service, during a webinar organized at the European Parliament, Thursday, March 31. From the existence of supposed American biological weapons laboratories to the misappropriation of images of the Covid-19 pandemic, the goal of these propagandists is, according to him, “not to pit a truth against a lie, but to create confusion. It is a tactic of relativization of the facts “. Among the measures to respond to this, Mr. Güllner’s service has just published, in Chinese, an article on “the debunking of seven false statements spread by the Russian side about the invasion of Ukraine”.

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