The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on a new challenge to the information ecosystem: the increasing convergence of Russian and Chinese information operations. In the early days of the pandemic, Beijing assumed a more aggressive approach to its information operations than has historically been the case. In some instances, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) even deployed tactics taken from Russia’s intentionally disruptive playbook. This change in the CCP’s tactics calls into question the predominant view of Russian and Chinese approaches.
The COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on a new challenge to the information ecosystem: the increasing convergence of Russian and Chinese information operations.
According to this view, although Moscow and Beijing share some common goals—weakening U.S. influence and dividing U.S. alliances, for example—they pursue different approaches to advancing their objectives. The Kremlin has been confrontational and destructive, attacking its opponents by, for example, amplifying false narratives or using divisive rhetoric. The CCP, by contrast, has typically relied on a more incremental and diffuse strategy, preferring to create positive perceptions of China and the CCP as a responsible global actor. Russia and Chinese actions during the pandemic, however, underscore how these lines are being blurred and why it is increasingly important for observers to challenge some long held assumptions.
Read the full paper from The National Endowment for Democracy.
More from CNAS
CommentaryThe United States Can’t Afford the Brutal Price of Chinese Solar Panels
Buying Chinese solar panels to reduce emissions is like using gas to put out a fire....
By Henry Wu
CommentaryIsrael’s growing ties to China are testing its relationship with the U.S.
As a sovereign, high-tech, democratic powerhouse, Israel has a fundamental stake in the contest between China and the free world....
By David Feith
VideoBank of Russia Hiked Rates
Elina Ribakova discusses how the spike in Covid-19 cases and new restrictions could affect the Russian economy with Bloomberg's Alix Steel and Guy Johnson. Watch the full vid...
By Elina Ribakova
CommentaryBipartisan support for taking on China goes only so far
The embrace of great-power competition comes with a critical caveat. Both parties’ enthusiasm for the concept abruptly ends when it requires doing something politically hard....
By Vance Serchuk