March 31, 2020

How China Is Exploiting the Pandemic to Export Authoritarianism

By David Shullman

During the past two weeks, Serbia’s president has hailed Chinese President Xi Jinping as his “brother” and kissed the Chinese flag, while leaders across Africa and Latin America have effusively praised China’s generosity. The Chinese government throughout the past year pursued a series of largely ineffective efforts to manipulate global narratives regarding its crackdown on democracy protests in Hong Kong and detention of more than one million Uighurs and other Muslim minorities. The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is now undertaking its most audacious effort yet at shaping international perceptions, looking to produce a soft power victory out of a pandemic of its own making.

Beijing’s use of the COVID-19 crisis to position itself as a responsible global leader is not only the height of chutzpah, but also a clear marker of a new phase in China’s manipulation of the global information space.

Read the full article in War on the Rocks.

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