Ahead of the Beijing Olympics, China is standing at the brink of a diplomatic boycott. From US, UK to Australia, we are witnessing a sort of a domino effect with western countries denouncing participation of their officials attending the games. In what seems like an image-saving bid, China is now resorting to a propaganda campaign by hiring and influencing the influencers. A document sent to the Voppi media shows that Chinese consulates are paying over 3 lakhs to hire US influencers to promote Beijing Olympics and what China has done for US.
CCP run CGTN has recruited young UK vloggers and students as part of their campaign called Media Challengers. Under the campaign, students become social media influencers for CGTN and their job is to defend China & ‘eliminate western Bias’. CGTN’s new propaganda includes 6 students from Leeds University & 1 in Manchester. The CGTN scheme includes job prospects and a $10000 prize. One such case in example is Zhuang Shangzi, 24-year-old student from Manchester, who claims to be promoting Real China & Chinese culture.
Reports say that the Chinese government is even going ahead to organise and fund the travel of pro-Beijing influencers, in order to gain brownie image points from their million of followers across platforms like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook.
Even as the world speaks of Chinese repression, these creators think otherwise and say that their aim is to counter West’s negative perceptions about China and do not consider themselves as propaganda tools. Along with these influencers, Chinese diplomats, representatives and sympathetic foreign voices are also a part of the propaganda to soften and glossify China’s image across the world.
Eric Liu, a former content moderator for Chinese social media, has told a news agency that China is the new super abuser that has arrived in global social media. The goal of China is not to win but to cause chaos and suspicion until there is no real truth.