China’s miraculous economic growth coupled with diplomatic stature has sparked a debate in international academia about China’s peaceful rise. The common question that the majority of scholars tried to answer was: will China recover peacefully? Dismissing all of their arguments, a single populist idea by John J. Mearsheimer has dominated the academic debate “The Rise of China will not be peaceful at all.” Such a pessimistic approach to China is perhaps understandable that the United States must contain China, otherwise China will replace the United States. File: US Indo-Pacific Strategy. “The United States has modernized longstanding alliances, strengthened emerging partnerships, and forged innovative ties among itself to address pressing challenges, from competition with China to climate change to the pandemic.”
The war in Ukraine has diverted US attention from the Asia-Pacific for the time being, but the United States will continue to inject resources to bolster AUKUS (a trilateral security agreement between Australia, the United United and the United States) and Quad (quadrilateral dialogue on security comprising of four countries: United States, Australia, Japan and India) for preventing countering the growing influence of China at the regional and global level.
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Western-centric academics are mostly prejudiced about China and they cannot be held responsible for that, because to maintain American hegemony they need a narrative in global academia that China can to be a revisionist power. According to the power transition theory, a revisionist power is likely to change over the period and will eventually end the current system. The United States had a lingering fear that the rise of China would invoke a new international system ending the US-dominated system. The majority of Western magazines and newspapers publish against China.
China continued to tolerate biased academic discourse for more than a decade, but as social media filled with anti-China rhetoric, it became a compulsion for China to defend its narrative. American policymakers and scholars have launched a massive anti-China campaign to undermine China’s rise. The United States is indeed very powerful in narrative construction due to its supremacy on the international scene. American universities and media publish articles on China and are frequently quoted around the world, even in political circles. Such an aggressive approach towards China could certainly undermine China’s interests.
This is why China needed a concrete strategy to counter the well-orchestrated propaganda. China’s approach of adopting strategic communication that could counter false US propaganda. China’s reaction to US- and Western-centric propaganda, especially on social media platforms, has been denied by a group of diplomats who have made their presence known on social media platforms.
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The US strategy of securing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), calling its diplomacy projects China’s debt trap, has undermined China’s image, as several other European and development have been cautious about engaging with China. To defend their position, Chinese diplomats presented facts and figures and began to dispute these accounts on social media platforms. Chinese diplomats have used strategic communication to counter false propaganda on social media. Even this has been called wolf warrior diplomacy and computer science nationalism in some circles.
As we are in the information age, strategic communication (StratCom) is used as a tool to advance political goals. Strategic communication is a relatively new term, but due to its frequent use, it has become a buzzword. StratCom’s main goal is to win hearts and minds, but China uses it to defend its Chinese position on internal and external issues. The reasoning is that if disinformation campaigns are not countered, the world will begin to believe what the Western-centric media and academics write. Some of the news shared by Western media is so unsubstantiated that it has drawn a strong reaction from China. Some Western media columnists and pundits describe the “wolf warrior” tone as harsh, confrontational, belligerent, belligerent, rude, etc. While it is simple, without any ambiguity and condemnation of false propaganda.
The Covid-19 outbreak has sent shock waves around the world. There have been frequent accusations against China by the United States, in particular former US President Donald Trump called Corona virus a Chinese virus deliberately to hold China accountable for the pandemic. Careful analysis predicts that “the Wuhan lab leak theory had been fired by most scientists as a fringe conspiracy theory”.
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But Western media kept repeating the same string Trump said.
These developing countries that have known the colonial experience of the great powers and the experience of exploitation are now turning to China with the hope of emerging from the economic crisis. China’s economic engagement with Africa has changed the lives of millions of Africans. The infrastructure has been developed at a rapid pace and this creates many opportunities for young people in African countries.
Sophisticated propaganda aimed at slandering China is already underway that China is acquiring strategic assets in exchange for debts to African nations. Chinese diplomats defend their foreign policy in Africa through diplomacy (digital diplomacy) that has no colonial aims on the continent. Talking to locals, it becomes clear that China’s investment is the source of prosperity for African nations. China has every right to dispel any false propaganda against China.
Dr. Rizwan Naseer is a Strategic Security Analyst and he is associated with PAF Air War College Institute (AWCI) Karachi. The opinions expressed by the authors do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of Global Village Space.