Chinese and Russian state media are working in extreme to disparage the Biden administration’s Summit for Democracy happening this week, saying that the project is hypocritical.
A flash of tweets by Chinese diplomats cite the event as a “so-called” democracy summit, whilst a Russian political commentator noting in a state-run Chinese newspaper has related the US initiative to “a mistress of a brothel teaching morale [sic] to schoolgirls.”
As experts say on authoritarian propaganda, that the media aggression is arriving from official mouthpieces and not just from shadowy bots and trolls, depicts anxiety over the US attempts to rally back for democratic standards and possibly isolate Beijing and Moscow in the procedure.
The policy director for the Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technology Initiative at the Brookings Institution, Jessica Brandt said “[China and Russia] see this as an opportunity to exacerbate cynicism in the political West and undermine any headlines that come out of this summit.”
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‘An Alternate View’
According to analysts, it’s a usual playbook, the kind of influence procedure that the US will probably have to compete with for years since it contends with the authoritarian governments to design global perspectives over governance.
A resident China fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab, Kenton Thibaut said “You’re seeing this concerted effort [from China] to undermine US democracy and put forward an alternative view.”
The “Summit for Democracy” is one of the most high-profile attempts of the Biden administration to encourage democratic norms.
According to the White House, the summit will highlight virtual meetings on Thursday and Friday and engage representatives of 100 governments, together with civil society groups and journalists.
On Tuesday, Uzra Zeya, who is Undersecretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights “We approach this week with both humility and confidence.
Humility in that we want to listen and learn and don’t shy away from our shortcomings; confidence in our constant striving for a more perfect union.”
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A senior administration official told reporters, the Biden administration is planning to make use of the conference for announcing the new measures to battle against corruption and defend free and fair elections. It reportedly has even invited Taiwan to join in.
Chinese and Russian authorities are making attempts to weaken that message.
Over the weekend, China conducted its own virtual International Forum on Democracy, allegedly participated by politicians and scholars from over 120 countries, and issued a white paper in which falsely claimed its one-party system is a democracy that performs better than the system in the United States.
The ambassadors of China and Russia to the US argued that the conference was “anti-democratic” in a joint opinion article published late last month by an American magazine, The National Interest. The Chinese and Russian diplomats maliciously cited their countries as democracies.
A senior fellow, Bret Schafer, who tracks misinformation at the Alliance for Securing Democracy, said that “democracy” has been the most prevailing Twitter hashtag for Chinese diplomatic and other government accounts during the last week.
Autocratic Governments Spread the False Information
Schafer said, “It has been a messaging priority [for China] for weeks.”
When asked about how the Biden administration might offset Russian and Chinese narratives during the conference, a senior administration official stated, “Today, many autocratic governments advance the falsehood that only by restricting citizens’ actions can societies ensure prosperity and security. Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Thibaut said despite China’s autocratic political system and well-accredited human rights abuses, the country’s proponents view the promotion of Chinese ideas of governance as a pathway to legality over the world level.
She said, “This is very much in line with what China’s been trying to do the last couple of years, which is redefining certain concepts on the world stage, including human rights and democracy.”
Some analysts are expecting that the conference will come up with tangible measures to fight the misery misinformation does in democracies with the spread of lies about elections or the coronavirus.
Nina Jankowicz, a fellow at the Wilson Center, requested the Biden administration to set up support for an alliance to offset the anti-democratic false information spread by China, Russia, and other countries.
Jankowicz said “Disinformation from both foreign actors and domestic sources is threatening the bedrock of democracies around the world and playing a major part in many of the world’s crises,” adding further “It’s important for the Biden administration to emphasize that truth is a cornerstone of both the Biden era and the democratic community it hopes to build.”