Beijing runs fake influence campaign saying life in Xinjiang is happy

Occurred: June 2021

The Chinese government ran an elaborate, covert automated influence campaign seeking to persuade people that life in Xinjiang is peaceful and happy.

Mostly in Mandarin or Uyghur, the campaign took the form of thousands of videos, featuring Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic minorities from across Xinjiang denying abuses against their own communities and criticising foreign officials and multinational corporations who had questioned China’s human rights record in Xinjiang.

Many of these videos followed the same or similar scripts, and often contained identical phrases, according to a ProPublica/New York Times investigation. The videos were run on Chinese media and social media sites, including Pomegranate Cloud, which is owned by the official Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily.

The clips were also distributed on Twitter and YouTube, in some cases with English language captions. The clips did not carry logos and were not labelled as official government communication or propaganda.

Operator: Government of China; Pomegranate Cloud/People's Daily; Global Times
Developer: Government of China
Country: China
Sector: Govt - home/interior; Govt - foreign; Govt - security
Purpose: Scare/confuse/destabilise
Technology: Intelligent agents/bots; Social media
Issue: Mis/disinformation
Transparency: Governance

Page info
Type: Issue
Published: December 2021