China slams U.S. report on Beijing’s ‘global information manipulation’

China called the United States an ’empire of lies’ Saturday in reaction to a U.S. State Department report issued this week claiming Beijing is spending billion of dollars to manipulate the global information space in its favor. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 30 (UPI) — China on Saturday slammed American accusations that Beijing has spent billions of dollars on creating a global “disinformation” network, calling the United States an “empire of lies.”

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said a report issued Friday by the U.S. State Department on how the communist nation is seeking to “reshape the global information environment to its advantage” is itself disinformation.

Citing what it called “the enormous lie made up to smear” China’s policies regarding its Uygher minority in the northwestern Xinjiang province, the ministry said Washington’s assertions about a Chinese “propaganda ecosystem” show that the United States “is an ’empire of lies’ through and through.”

“Even some in the U.S., such as Senator Rand Paul, acknowledged that the U.S. government is the greatest propagator of disinformation in the history of the world,” the statement said.

Paul, a Tennessee Republican, asserted during a May 2022 Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing, “Do you know [who] the greatest propagator of disinformation in the history of the world is? The U.S. government.”

The comments came while he was questioning Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas about the department’s proposed Disinformation Governance Board, which was intended to oversee and safeguard the United States from disinformation threats abroad but was later dropped.

China has cited Paul’s comments in several contexts since then in its disagreements with U.S. policies, including this week’s State Department report on Chinese disinformation campaigns.

The report found that China’s “information manipulation efforts” are composed of five primary features including international propaganda, domestic censorship, promoting “digital authoritarianism,” pressuring international organizations and exercising control over Chinese-language media.

“These five elements enable Beijing to bend the global information environment to its advantage,” the authors wrote. “If successful, the PRC’s efforts could transform the global information landscape, creating biases and gaps that lead nations to make decisions that subordinate their economic and security interests to Beijing’s.”

In its Saturday response, Chinese officials said it is rather the United States that has “invented the weaponizing of the global information space.”

“Some in the U.S. may think that they can prevail in the information war as long as they produce enough lies,” the foreign ministry spokesperson said. “But the people of the world are not blind.”

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