Chinese propaganda outlets have responded to the news of a Chinese surveillance balloon flying across the United States and its nuclear missile sites by claiming that the balloon did not come from China, despite the fact that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has already confirmed it.
A review from the Washington Free Beacon found that Chinese propaganda outlets have described any news of Chinese espionage or aggression against the U.S. as “utterly baseless,” “a sensational accusation,” “Sinophobia,” or “a conspiracy theory.”
In one response to the news of China’s surveillance balloon flying over nuclear missile sites in Montana, China Daily published an article claiming it was a “conspiracy theory” and that the balloon has “no sign linking it to China.” The propaganda outlet went on to try to shift the narrative, asking why the U.S. is “hoarding such a large stockpile of weapons of mass destruction.”
China Daily refused to correct the story, even after the CCP released a statement on Friday confirming that the balloon was a Chinese “airship” and asserting that it was just used for “scientific research.”
Global Times was one of the few Chinese propaganda outlets that eventually admitted the surveillance balloon came from China — though the outlet did parrot the CCP’s “scientific research” claim. Prior to reversing course, Global Times originally claimed the balloon came from the U.S. military and called the Pentagon’s assessment that it originated in China a “sensational accusation” that “Chinese analysts” have “refuted.”
“China has explained clearly the balloon spotted in the U.S. is a civilian airship designed for meteorological research purpose,” Global Times reported.
In an op-ed for the Washington Free Beacon, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo scoffed at the propaganda being spewed.
“Sure, the CCP’s harmless weather balloon just happened to pass over multiple sensitive military sites vital to America’s national security,” Pompeo wrote on Saturday. “Nobody should believe that nonsense, especially not the Biden administration.”
China later threatened to retaliate against the U.S. after President Joe Biden finally ordered the military to shoot down the surveillance balloon on Saturday — conveniently waiting until after the spy balloon had traveled across the entire U.S. and was floating over the Carolina coast.
President Biden should’ve shot down the Chinese balloon as soon as it entered US airspace.
Instead, he waited until it collected all the data it needed – and shot it down after the mission was completed.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) February 7, 2023
This is far from the first time that Chinese outlets tried to push propaganda about the United States.
While U.S. lawmakers were discussing a ban on the Chinese social media app TikTok, which has been proven to be spying on Americans, the CCP launched a propaganda blitz — even trying to smear critics as “racist conspiracy theorists,” according to Fox News.
A Chinese spy balloon just floated over our country for a week. Millions of Americans have TikTok downloaded on their phones. Where is President Biden’s plan to take on the CCP surveillance state?
— Ashley Hinson (@RepAshleyHinson) February 8, 2023
A Global Times columnist claimed in an article last month that criticizing TikTok is “Sinophobia,” likely in an attempt to win over leftists by claiming that any opposition to China comes from “deep-rooted prejudice.”
China’s anti-American propaganda appears to have worked on some American leftists, including radical progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY).
According to the Washington Free Beacon, the socialist congresswoman “has a long relationship with Chinese state-controlled media, funneling money since 2020 to the Beijing-controlled newspaper Sing Tao. Another propaganda outlet, Xinhua News Agency, last year used a quote from Ocasio-Cortez on gun violence to criticize the United States.”
Writing for the Free Beacon last month, Center for the Future of Liberal Society associate director Mike Watson described China’s propaganda.
“China has become a master of ‘sharp power,’ which is using covert or hidden means to manipulate people and bury negative stories, sometimes even before they are written,” Watson wrote, adding that Beijing “has successfully intimidated American news organizations and academics for decades, its propagandists learn from their mistakes, and its capabilities are growing.”