In George Floyd Protests, China Sees A Powerful Propaganda Opportunity
By John Ruwitch
Protests across the United States in the wake of George Floyd's death have created an unlikely opportunity for China.
State TV has aired images of chaotic protest scenes during its widely watched evening news program, and offered searing commentary that has also highlighted the U.S. government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. "American politicians must ask themselves," one announcer said, "on what grounds do they spew their sanctimonious nonsense? Shouldn't they ask the American people for forgiveness?"
Newspapers in China have reported on looting and rioting, and editorials have blasted the U.S. government for failing to address America's racial inequality. On social media, officials and propagandists have trolled America with schadenfreude...
With the economy severely weakened by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Communist Party is leaning more heavily on nationalism to boost its domestic image, says Xiao Qiang, with the School of Information at the University of California Berkeley.
"At this particular moment, they desperately need this patriotic nationalistic support [of] the government," he says. "At this moment, the Chinese government is particularly [in] need [of] this type of propaganda making impact among the Chinese public."
Xiao Qiang is a Research Scientist at the School of Information and the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of China Digital Times, a bi-lingual China news website.