Статья опубликована в рамках: Научного журнала «Студенческий» № 38(208)
Рубрика журнала: Политология
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U.S. INFORMATION WARFARE AGAINST CHINA: BASIC DIRECTIONS
The article deals with the main areas in which the United States of America is waging an information warfare against the People's Republic of China.
Keywords: USA, China, information warfare.
The US information warfare against China cannot be called defensive because it is obvious that this warfare is offensive in nature with some elements of defense. It should also be noted that this warfare is not directed at the internal population of the United States (this is relevant for China, which is mostly engaged in anti-American propaganda within its own country) and not even at the citizens of the People’s Republic of China: The United States is conducting anti-Chinese information and psychological operations around the world to discredit China, primarily in the international arena.
The US uses various levers of pressure to promote the anti-China information campaign around the world. A good example of this is the coronavirus pandemic which to some extent played into the hands of the United States in the context of the information confrontation with China. In addition to direct accusations of the PRC by the American leadership that the virus originated in the Wuhan laboratory, anti-Chinese rhetoric was picked up by all American media during this period. Many articles used the popular “naming and shaming” technique. As a result of this various variations of the name COVID-19 appeared in the media, such as “Chinese virus”, “Wuhan virus”, and so on. The blaming technique was also actively used.
The constant build-up of China's military power in the South China Sea is another reason for the US information and psychological operations against this country. The geopolitical dispute between countries in this region has become especially aggravated during the presidency of Donald Trump. The thing is that the South China Sea is an ‘artery’ of the international trade. About five trillion dollars pass annually through this ‘artery’ and there are rich oil and gas deposits on the shelf of the South China Sea. China considers 80% of the water area of the South China Sea to be its sovereign territory including the islands of two archipelagos - Paracel and Spartly. Although the USA makes no claim to the South China Sea, this state has a direct interest in this territorial dispute, as the USA sees China as a potential superpower that dominates the Asia-Pacific region and poses a threat to US allies such as the Philippines and Taiwan which also make claim to the islands. In this regard, accusations of China in the militarization of the South China Sea can often be found in the American media. However, the United States themselves have significantly increased their military presence in the region in recent years in order to demonstrate “freedom of navigation” at the sea.
As for Taiwan, it is another stumbling block in Sino-American bilateral relations. Moreover, the Taiwan issue is a key controversy that has laid the foundation for tensions between the two countries. The United States openly supported the government of the Kuomintang Party (Republic of China), which eventually lost the civil war (1927-1950) to the Communists, and then was forced to move to Taiwan. Although today the United States officially recognizes the One China principle which implies the rejection of any official relations with the Republic of China, it continues "to preserve and promote extensive, close, and friendly commercial, cultural, and other relations between the people of the United States and the people on Taiwan" on the basis of the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 . Thus, the United States is pursuing a policy of "strategic uncertainty" regarding the de facto independent Republic of China.
It is important to point out that Taiwan can be called "Chinese Ukraine" in a sense. The island’s "return" to mainland China is important for the PRC not only in terms of an economic point of view, but also in terms of a geopolitical one because this will demonstrate the superiority of China over the USA in the Asia-Pacific region and in the world. Undoubtedly, this will also become an important element in the information confrontation between China and the United States, just as the Russian special military operation in Ukraine became the part of the information confrontation between Russia and the West. Moreover, the return of Taiwan to mainland China would not only be a victory of the PRC over the US for dominance in the region and in the world, but it would also be part of a change in the world order towards multipolarity. However, nowadays China keeps a close eye in what’s going on in Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Ukraine has become another lever of US’ pressure on China on the world stage. Some American officials regularly publicly criticize China because the Chinese authorities don’t influence Russia and have no clear position on the Ukrainian conflict. Obviously, this is also a part of the US information warfare against China, as such behavior is another attempt to discredit China in the eyes of the international community.
In addition to all the above contradictions, there is another significant leverage that Washington uses in the information confrontation with Beijing. This is a problem of respect for human rights, freedom and democracy in the People's Republic of China. In 1977, the US State Department began publishing annual reports on human rights practices in different countries. The People's Republic of China was appeared in each of them and these reports always criticized the violation of human rights by the Chinese authorities. Washington specifically highlights discrimination against ethnic minorities, including Uyghurs and other Muslims living in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. For example, the 2021 Report classifies China's actions in Xinjiang as "genocide and crimes against humanity" . In addition, the suppression of the democracy movement in Hong Kong is criticized, as well as citizen’s arrests for public comments about the crisis connected with the spread of COVID-19.
Another direction of the US information warfare against China is the economy. In 2018, a so-called “trade war” began between the countries, caused by the growing US trade deficit with China, that reached $376 billion in 2017 and $419 billion in 2018 .
All the described contradictions between the two countries, including coronavirus, confrontation in the South China Sea, the Taiwan issue, the Ukrainian conflict, the problem of human rights in China and the economy, are regularly used by Washington as a lever of pressure on Beijing in the information space. It is worth noting that such information operations are often successful because the Chinese approach to conducting an information warfare still does not work well in practice despite a well-thought-out doctrinal basis. The trouble is that China uses propaganda and disinformation within the country, and the US operations, on the contrary, are spreading to other countries, thus helping to gain information superiority over China.
- Супян В.Б. Американо-китайские торгово-экономические отношения: причины кризиса и его перспективы / В.Б. Супян // Российский внешнеэкономический вестник: науч. журнал. – 2019. – №9. – С. 23-32. – URL: https://cyberleninka.ru/article/n/amerikano-kitayskie-torgovo-ekonomicheskie-otnosheniya-prichiny-krizisa-i-ego-perspektivy (дата обращения: 20.11.22)
- 2021 Сountry Reports on Human Rights Practices: China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau). March 2021 / U.S. Department of State. – https://www.state.gov/reports/2021-country-reports-on-human-rights-practices/china/ (дата обращения: 20.11.22)
- Taiwan Relations Act, January 1, 1979 // American Institute in Taiwan. – URL: https://china.usc.edu/taiwan-relations-act-1979 (дата обращения: 20.11.22)