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- The US views China as a source of information that is not in line with American values.
- China has been utilizing artificial intelligence to create false news reports and posting a large number of social media posts that are critical in nature.
- Attitudes towards China vary across the globe, with some countries having negative views and others having positive views.
- The US is taking steps to respond to China’s influence operations, such as utilizing funds from an annual fund for responding to Chinese influence.
- The success of these measures is yet to be determined.
The United States and China
The United States has long viewed China as a source of information that is not in line with American values, but less active in its influence operations than Russia.
There is a heightened awareness in Washington that the U.S. may not be taking sufficient action to address China’s increasingly assertive tactics.
U.S. officials and outside experts have noted recent occurrences of actors with ties to China utilizing artificial intelligence to create false news reports and posting a large number of social media posts that are critical in nature.
This has caused a more negative outlook in Washington regarding China’s ambitions in terms of politics and economics, as well as the potential for conflict over Taiwan, prompting calls for the U.S. to take more action to counter Chinese influence in other countries.
In response, China’s embassy in Washington said Beijing “opposes the circulation of inaccurate information” and attributed the U.S. for using social media “as a tool to shape international public opinion and as a weapon to label and portray other countries in a negative light.” Chinese state media and associated channels, as well as social media influencers with large followings, often spread ideas that the U.S. considers to be exaggerated, incorrect or deceptive.
U.S. intelligence assessed that Russia attempted to influence the last two presidential elections, while China was reportedly considering such action in 2020. AI-generated videos and posts associated with a potential Chinese influence operation have been identified by research firms and threat analysts.
There are also ongoing concerns in Washington regarding TikTok, the popular video-sharing app which is currently undergoing a national security review in the U.S.
Attitudes towards China vary across the globe, according to Pew Research Center data.
In some countries, such as the U.S., much of Europe, Australia, South Korea and Japan, views of the Chinese government are generally negative.
In other countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, opinions are more positive, which may be due to economic investments and offers of infrastructure and security assistance from Beijing.
In the event of a conflict concerning U.S.-supported Taiwan, specialists suggest that forming international perspectives and narratives will be essential in guaranteeing military and diplomatic assistance for either side.
To this end, the State Department’s Global Engagement Center is responsible for responding to Chinese messaging outside of both the U.S. and China.
The U.S. also utilizes direct investment as a strategy for responding to Chinese influence, with the U.S. Agency for International Development suggesting utilizing funds from an annual fund for responding to Chinese influence to support bakeries in Tunisia.
As China’s influence operations become more widespread, the U.S. is taking steps to respond.
The success of these measures is yet to be determined.
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