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Wittman: Chinese Communist Party Deploys Propaganda to Shape the Information Battlespace

During a House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) hearing, Congressman Rob Wittman (R-VA) shed light on how the CCP is deploying propaganda to shape the “information battlespace” and gain a strategic advantage over the United States.  



“Today’s hearing is titled ‘The CCP’s Strategy to Shape the Global Information Space.’ This is very much like what we term in the military as ‘shaping the battlespace.’ I would argue that this is the information battlespace. The CCP is all about shaping how they can gain an advantage within that area. 

“Ms. Wang, would you say that China is trying to shape this information battlespace to their own advantage?”

Yaqiu Wang, Research Director for China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan at Freedom House:



“In doing that, they are using various social media platforms … to create sympathy towards the Chinese Communist Party. In that realm, we know that efforts strategically to influence are really about limiting the freedom of action by your adversary, by slowing and shaping decisions by your adversary, so what you want to do is to gain an advantage for that. 

“Would you say that China, through their efforts with Bytedance and TikTok, and their other efforts to shape that information battlespace, do you think that they are having an influence … on making things more friendly to [CCP] viewpoints here within the American population?”


“I think the results are varied. Definitely it’s working in the Chinese-language space … China, the Chinese government, or its affiliate entities have bought so many newspapers and news websites that cater to the Chinese diaspora, and its censorship and the surveillance is quite severe, so it’s quite effective within that space. 

“Outside of the Chinese-language space, I feel you know the effect is not as obvious. I think that is due to the very vibrant independent press in the U.S. There has been very good investigative journalism into the CCP’s disinformation, and it’s also because the U.S. government has paid a lot of attention — there has been funding from the U.S. government into doing research on this issue. Our Freedom House project, Beijing Global Media Influence, is funded by the State Department. The fact that we are holding a hearing today discussing this issue is a testament that the disinformation campaign by Beijing is not working as well as it hoped.”


“You do point out their influence is growing — their ability to shape this information battlespace — which is part of what they’re doing around the world to gain an advantage, is gaining some traction. In that realm, what would your suggestion be for this committee and for our nation, to communicate the efforts that the CCP is using to project propaganda, to essentially censor certain pieces of information through platforms like TikTok? And not just in keeping information from going out, but also putting out disinformation, which is even more nefarious than blocking information?

“How do we go about explaining to the American people the emergence of this threat, and what we need to do to counter this threat?”


“We need a law to force transparency by social media companies. We have all this speculation, there is some evidence about what TikTok is doing in terms of promoting CCP propaganda, of censoring information that is critical of the CCP. We don’t know enough. We don’t have the full picture because there aren't laws that force social media companies to disclose that information. We worry about data being accessed by the Chinese government. We can have laws to prevent that from happening. I think this would be a very effective and powerful law to counter CCP disinformation. 

“And secondly, I really wanted to go back to the Chinese-language information space because this is really where the government, where Beijing, has made progress there. Being a member of the Chinese diaspora, there is just so much disinformation. Information is language. I know so many Chinese people, they have circumvented the censorship to read the news outside the Chinese firewall, but they couldn’t get good information just because the whole space is so flooded by CCP’s disinformation. So Congress needs to investigate the Chinese language space to provide information that is accurate and fact-based. We have Voice of America, we have Radio Free Asia, but we need more. We need the kind of information that speaks to the concerns of the community.”