(CNN) – State media in China and Russia are working at full speed to discredit the Summit for Democracy – an initiative of US President, Joe Biden – which is taking place this week, calling the project hypocritical.
A flurry of tweets from Chinese diplomats referred to the event as a “supposed” summit of democracy, while a Russian political commentator, writing in a Chinese state newspaper, compared the US initiative to “a brothel lady who teaches morals.” [sic] for school students.
The fact that the media bombardment is coming from spokespersons—not from dark bots and trolls—reflects concern about U.S. efforts. Building support for democratic norms And potentially alienating Beijing and Moscow in the process, authoritarian propaganda experts tell CNN.
“China and Russia see this as an opportunity to exacerbate cynicism in the West and undermine any headlines emerging from this summit,” said Jessica Brandt, director of policy for the Emerging Technology and Artificial Intelligence Initiative at the Brookings Institution.
alternate point of view
According to analysts, this is a well-known maneuver, the type of influence operation that the United States will likely have to contend with for years as it competes with repressive governments to shape global views of governance.
“We’re really seeing concerted efforts [por parte de China] to undermine American democracy and offer an alternative vision.”
The Democracy Summit is one of the Biden administration’s most prominent efforts to advance democratic standards. The conference will include virtual meetings on Thursday and Friday, and will feature representatives from 100 governments, along with civil society groups and journalists, according to the White House.
The Deputy Minister of State for Civil Security Affairs said: “We deal with this week with humility and confidence. Humility in the sense that we want to listen, learn and not turn away from our shortcomings; confidence in our continuing efforts for a more perfect union.” On Tuesday, Democracy and Human Rights Ezra Zia.
A senior administration official told reporters that the Biden government plans to use the summit to announce new initiatives to fight corruption and advocate for free and fair elections. expressly called Taiwan to participate.
Chinese and Russian officials try to undermine Biden’s message
Over the weekend, China held its own international virtual forum on democracy, allegedly joined by politicians and academics from more than 120 countries, and published a white paper in it. falsely confirms The one-party system is a better functioning democracy than the US system.
The Chinese and Russian ambassadors to the United States denounced the summit as “undemocratic” in a joint opinion piece published in late November by The National Interest. Chinese and Russian diplomats have wrongly referred to their countries as democracies.
Brett Schaefer, principal investigator for tracking disinformation at the Coalition for Assurance of Democracy, said “democracy” was the most popular hashtag on Twitter for Chinese diplomatic and other government accounts in the past week.
“It was really a priority as a subject [para China] for weeks.”
When asked how the Biden government might counter the Russian and Chinese narratives about the summit, a senior administration official said: “Today, many authoritarian governments are promoting the lie that restricting the actions of societies can only ensure prosperity and security. Farther from the truth.”
What is China looking for?
Despite China’s authoritarian political system and well-documented human rights abuses, the country’s propagandists see promoting Chinese notions of governance as a path to legitimacy on the world stage.
“This is very much in line with what China has tried to do in the past two years, which is to redefine certain concepts on the world stage, including human rights and democracy,” he told CNN.
Some experts hope that the summit will bring concrete measures to combat the damage disinformation is doing to democracies by spreading lies about elections or the coronavirus.
Nina Jankovic, a researcher at the Wilson Center, urged the Biden administration to support a coalition to counter anti-democratic disinformation led by China, Russia and other countries.
“Disinformation from foreign actors and domestic sources threatens the foundations of democracies around the world and plays an important role in many of the world’s crises,” Yankovic told CNN. “It is important for the Biden administration to emphasize that truth is a cornerstone of both the Biden era and the democratic society it hopes to build.”
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