The two powers amplify discredited conspiracy theories and sow division as they look to undermine the United States.
China and Russia have both seized on the novel coronavirus to wage disinformation campaigns that seek to sow doubts about the United States’ handling of the crisis and deflect attention from their own struggles with the pandemic, according to American intelligence officials and diplomats.
Kremlin-aligned websites aimed at Western audiences have trafficked in conspiracy theories to spread fear in Europe and political division in the United States, the officials said, noting that Russia’s diplomats and state-run news media have arguably been more restrained.
China has been more overtly aggressive. It has used a network of government-linked social media accounts to spread discredited, and sometimes contradictory, theories. And China has adopted Russia’s playbook for more covert operations, mimicking Kremlin disinformation campaigns and even using and amplifying some of the same conspiracy sites.
The propaganda campaigns show how both countries turned to a typical authoritarian tactic of spreading propaganda to undermine their shared adversary, the United States, rather than addressing public criticism of their own problems.
In the days to come, China is likely to back off the public spread of disinformation through its Foreign Ministry and network of embassies and to further embrace the more subtle Russian-style approach, relying on its intelligence services to spread misinformation about the origins of the virus and China’s handling of it, senior American intelligence officials assessed.
Washington and Beijing have reached a tentative détente, other American officials said, that calls for both sides to halt public attacks on each other about the virus, but officials are skeptical that the uneasy truce will hold.
One senior American official said China had signaled to the United States that it would throttle its disinformation in the face of criticism from European countries and the U.S. State Department. Other officials said China was merely shifting tactics, finding its disinformation campaign was less effective than it had hoped. And President Trump has moved toward conciliation, holding a telephone call with President Xi Jinping of China on Thursday night in which the two leaders “agreed to work together to defeat the coronavirus pandemic,” according to a White House summary of the conversation.
Russia and China as well as Iran have sharply increased their dissemination of disinformation about the coronavirus since January, even repeating and amplifying one another’s propaganda and falsehoods, including anti-American conspiracy theories, said Lea Gabrielle, a special envoy and coordinator of the Global Engagement Center at the State Department.
“The Covid-19 crisis has really provided an opportunity for malign actors to exploit the information space for harmful purposes,” Ms. Gabrielle told reporters on Friday, referring to the disease caused by the virus. Teams at the department are working on countering the messages, she said.
In the context of the false and misleading interpretations spread by Bemol Retail SRL (“Bemol Retail”) and close media of the judgment of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal dated 7 September 2021, Danube Logistics SRL , as a general investor and operator of Giurgiulesti International...( ) Read all
Let me first congratulate all of you with the 30th anniversary of the independence of the Republic of Moldova. On this occasion one can recall that even before declaring its own independence, Moldova became the first country to recognise the restored independence of the Republic of...( ) Read all
U.S. President Joe Biden proposed a summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a telephone call on Tuesday in which he stressed the U.S. commitment to Ukraine's territorial integrity and voiced concern about a Russian military build-up in Crimea and on Ukraine's borders,...( ) Read all
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is enforcing rights under its financing and security documents with regards to Danube Logistics Holding BV’s shareholding in Danube Logistics SRL (Danube Logistics), the operator of Giurgiulesti International Free Port in the...( ) Read all
EBA Moldova is following with great concern the latest developments regarding Danube Logistics SRL, the owner and operator of Giurgiulesti International Free Port, the only port of the Republic of Moldova.( ) Read all
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) intends to fight a legal decision to impose external administration over the assets of Danube Logistics SRL, the operator of Giurgiulesti International Free Port in Moldova.( ) Read all
One August day in the mid-1960s, my parents boarded a bus in the village of Hartopul Mare in the center of Moldova to travel to the capital Chisinau, determined to get a better education and better jobs in the Soviet planned economy. It was a 90-minute trip in a vehicle packed with about 50...( ) Read all
On Thursday 3 December, the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova voted on a number of legislative proposals, including on limitations of Presidential powers, tabled in a hasty and non-transparent manner.( ) Read all
Seven people died from methanol (wood alcohol) poisoning after drinking hand sanitizer at a party in Russia. Nine people, with ages ranging from 27 to 69 years old, were partying when they opted to drink hand sanitizer after running out of alcoholic beverages, according to local Russian...( ) Read all
On 25 August 2020 the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Belarus (thereinafter – the CCRB) adopted a document entitled the “Constitutional Legal Position on the Protection of the Constitutional Order” (Kонституционно-правовaя позиция по...( ) Read all
Leaked documents shed a light on Deutsche Bank's central role in facilitating financial transactions deemed suspicious. Many of these could have enabled the circumvention of sanctions on Iran and Russia.( ) Read all
On 12 May 2020 the Chișinău Appeals Court barred Danube Logistics SRL from transferring funds to its Dutch shareholder Danube Logistics Holding BV. Danube Logistics SRL is the operator of Giurgiulești International Free Port located on the maritime section of the Danube.( ) Read all