China State Media Present Their Own Version Of HK Protests

16-Aug-2019 Intellasia | NPR | 6:02 AM Print This Post

As anti-Beijing protests in Hong Kong enter their third month, China’s leaders face a new challenge: managing perceptions of the protests at home.

China is anxious the protests might inspire similar dissent on the mainland, where huge swathes of territory including the regions of Xinjiang and Tibet have also seen numerous instances of opposition to Beijing’s governance.

To inoculate itself, Beijing has turned to a raft of disinformation tactics to stir up nationalist support at home, creating a very different narrative of what is happening in Hong Kong by levying its control over the flow of information.

“The [protest] movement is so complicated, unpredictable and unprecedented, with a very diverse group of participants,” says Fang Kecheng, a communications professor at Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK).

“But what we see within the Great Firewall of China is actually simplified and distorted,” he says. “That is because nationalistic content is politically safe and highly popular among the Chinese public and internet users.”

Official state media pin the blame for protests on the “black hand” of foreign interference, namely from the United States, and what they have called criminal Hong Kong thugs. A popular conspiracy theory posits the CIA incited and funded the Hong Kong protesters, who are demanding an end to an extradition bill with China and the ability to elect their own leader.


Category: China

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