A high-ranking European authority recently cautioned that Chinese media outlets under state control have begun disseminating pro-Kremlin propaganda concerning the conflict in Ukraine. This purported disinformation effort from China commenced shortly after European governments closed Russia’s state-controlled media channels. The campaign comprises pro-Russian narratives, anti-NATO sentiments, and allegedly false information concerning the Ukrainian refugee crisis across Europe.
According to EU-funded briefing documents, Ivana Karaskova, the Special Adviser to the European Commission, accused the Chinese government of actively promoting animosity towards the refugees. As someone responsible for monitoring China’s disinformation campaigns in Eastern and Central Europe, Karaskova stated that Beijing is disseminating anti-Ukrainian narratives within both the Far-left and Far-right groups in these regions.
In her briefing papers, the special adviser also revealed that Chinese media outlets were depicting NATO and the Biden administration as factors contributing to instability in the region. Karaskova emphasized that this narrative serves the interests of the Kremlin, given that NATO’s efforts to counter Russian aggression in Ukraine are being portrayed as attempts to “combat” Russia.
According to the China expert, Xinhua and CRI were actively and forcefully disseminating anti-Western propaganda, going as far as denying Russia’s responsibility for the invasion of Ukraine. She also pointed out that Poland, which has already taken in millions of Ukrainian refugees, has been the primary focus of this disinformation campaign.
Apart from the mentioned media outlets, Karaskova disclosed that Chinese embassies in Western countries are also involved in disseminating these narratives through their social media channels. Recently, the Chinese embassy in Bratislava, Slovakia, shared online messages criticizing the West for what they termed “double standards.” The embassy asserted that the treatment of Ukrainian refugees differs from that of refugees originating from Latin America or the Middle East.
Karaskova’s documents were released subsequent to a public address by Richard Moore, the head of the United Kingdom’s MI6, on July 18. During his speech in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, Moore openly encouraged Russian intelligence officers who are against the invasion in Ukraine to defect and work as spies for Western countries.