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HomeStoriesUncovering China's Influence: Inside the Secret Propaganda Campaign in India.

Uncovering China’s Influence: Inside the Secret Propaganda Campaign in India.

Uncovering China’s Influence: Inside the Secret Propaganda Campaign in India.

The allegations of China running a secret propaganda operation with journalists in India have been making headlines in recent times.

The problem attracted attention after people posing as representatives from organizations in Singapore approached Indian journalists and researchers with offers to collaborate on projects or contribute to publications on security and foreign policy.

The matter has raised concerns about China’s influence in India’s strategic affairs and the possibility of the country using propaganda to promote its interests.

China

The Operation.

Email, and direct messaging on LinkedIn, Facebook, or WhatsApp were the methods of communication utilised by the persons who made contact with Indian researchers and journalists.

Issues involving linkages between India and China, Japan, and the Indo-Pacific region were the primary focus of their attention. The amount of money that might be made from writing articles ranged from $100 to $400, which is around $33,000.

Additional research in Singapore has revealed that at least two of the individuals who contacted Indian journalists and researchers do not exist in the real world. These two people are Julia Chia, who works as a “senior programme manager” at the National University of Singapore (NUS), and Jian Qiang Wong, who works as a “researcher” at the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

This has raised concerns about the credibility of the organizations they claim to represent. As NUS and SIIA have connections to the Singaporean government, the issue has received substantial consideration there.

Under the condition of anonymity, Indian security authorities claim that the strategy employed by individuals like Chia and Wong alludes to similar influence operations carried out by China in other nations, including Australia, Canada, and the US.

These individuals are searching for the type of writing that the Chinese government frequently commissions in order to promote its interests. One official was quoted by the Hindustan Times as saying, “They target persons who have a grasp of strategic matters or those they think can publish or push opinions which favour China’s interests.

The Matter Taken Seriously in Singapore.

Given the affiliations of NUS and SIIA with the Singaporean government, the situation has been treated very seriously there. The country has strict laws against foreign interference and has been known to take a tough stance on issues related to national security.

The Singaporean authorities have said that they are investigating the matter and have warned against the use of the city-state as a base for foreign interference in other countries affairs.

China

The Singaporean Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also stated that the country is committed to upholding international laws and norms, including those related to non-interference in other countries internal affairs.

Researchers from prestigious Delhi-based think tanks that focus on security and military issues, as well as retired army and navy officials—including officers with the ranks of major general and vice admiral—and those who have worked on matters like defence acquisition and offsets—were among Wong’s contacts on LinkedIn.

Those with knowledge of the situation say Wong clearly concentrated on those with access to sensitive information.

The majority of the journalists and researchers who were approached became sceptical as a result of the fact that the emails that were sent to them following the first contacts did not originate from the official email IDs of NUS, SIIA, or any of the other organizations that the individuals who approached them had claimed to work for.

When the person making the approach spoke to an Indian journalist working for a foreign newspaper, the journalist received an email from a Yahoo ID even though the person claimed to represent the US-based firm International Development Corporation (IDC).

The Institute of Conflict Management’s executive director, Ajai Sahni, said he was unsurprised by the developments since they fit into the global pattern of China’s influence efforts to compel Beijing’s point of view.

Sahni claims that China has fostered local opinion leaders everywhere it could. China would have created friendship organizations that would openly advocate China’s position on issues that matter to them if they had more autonomy, similar to some of the neighbouring countries. China’s private organizations and NGOs are required under its policy documents to promote the CPC’s objectives worldwide.

Indian Security Officials’ Perspective.

Under the condition of anonymity, Indian security authorities claim that the strategy employed by individuals like Chia and Wong alludes to similar influence operations carried out by China in other nations, including Australia, Canada, and the US. They think that these people are searching for the kind of writing that the Chinese government frequently commissions to spin a story in its favour.

According to reports, the officials have said that these persons target those who are knowledgeable about strategic matters or those who they believe have the potential to publish or advance viewpoints that are advantageous to China. This has raised concerns about the possibility of China using propaganda to influence the narrative around India-China relations and India’s foreign policy.

The Implications

The allegations of China running a secret propaganda operation with journalists in India have raised concerns about the country’s intentions and its role in India’s strategic affairs. China and India have a history of tense relations, with border disputes, trade issues, and geopolitical rivalries between the two countries.

China

The use of propaganda by China to influence the narrative around India-China relations and India’s foreign policy could have severe implications for the region’s stability and security. It could lead to a further deterioration of relations between the two countries and fuel geopolitical tensions in the Indo-Pacific region.

Conclusion

The allegations of China running a secret propaganda operation with journalists in India have raised concerns about the country’s intentions and its role in India’s strategic affairs. The matter has been taken seriously in Singapore, and the authorities have warned against the use of the city-state as a base for foreign interference in other countries affairs.

The use of propaganda to influence the narrative around India-China relations and India’s foreign policy could have severe implications for the region’s stability and security. India and other countries in the region need to remain vigilant and take measures to counter any attempts at foreign interference in their affairs.

Edited by Prakriti Arora

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