The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on April 24, 2020 published an article analysing foreign media attacks, especially in the United States, against China during the Covid-19 pandemic which, it said, had made it difficult for China to cooperate with other countries and fight the pandemic globally. It said China needed not only to clam down this propaganda, but also prepare itself for future propaganda war against China during major emergencies. It listed the following five main characteristics of the recent US media attacks "slandering and denigrating China": (i) stigmatise coronavirus into "Wuhan virus" and "Chinese virus". (ii) baselessly accuse the Chinese government of hiding information which led to the spread of the epidemic. For example, the article "China is the Real Sick Man of Asia" published by the Wall Street Journal on February 3 attacked the Chinese government's slow action which caused the epidemic to spread. The article "China commemorates the virus victims with three minutes of reflection" published on April 4, claimed that the number of cases published in China is not correct. (iii) The epidemic situation will be transmitted to the countries along the route and the world through the “Belt and Road” initiative to negatively impact China’s relationship with the “Belt and Road” countries. For example, the "Belt and Road Virus Pandemic" published by the US "Foreign Policy" on February 24 arbitrarily concluded that the "Belt and Road" will also spread the new coronavirus to every corner of the world, especially in Asia and Africa. (iv) The attack on China's assistance to European countries is aimed at splitting Europe and taking global leadership in epidemic prevention. As the “New York Times” published on March 18, “As Coronavirus Cases Decrease, China Turns its Attention to the Outside World” stated that it launched humanitarian “wolf diplomacy” against countries with severe epidemics, trying to reposition China as a major power. The article “China ’s Mask Diplomacy” published in the Diplomacy Weekly on March 25 attacked China and said by sending medical supplies to European countries China seeks to enhance its image as a responsible global leader, and by adopting different Aid program to try to split Europe. (v) The article “How to Make China Pay the Price” published by the US National Review on April 6 clamoured that the Chinese government failed to report the epidemic to the World Health Organisation in a timely manner, violating the International Health Regulations. (vi) Some American media accused China of adopting a high-pressure isolation model, which opposed the Chinese epidemic prevention model against the so-called "successful" epidemic prevention model in Singapore, South Korea, Germany, and Taiwan, and deprecated China's active efforts, tremendous results, and outstanding contributions. In addition, the US media recently published a number of articles advocating the investigation of the World Health Organisation and its Director-General. The article asserted that the US has actively launched a wave of attacks against China with the fundamental purpose of inciting racial discrimination, demonising China and curbing China's rise. It said the recent anti-China public opinion in the United States not only echoed the rhetoric of some US officials, parliamentarians and think tanks, but also of the anti-China public opinion in Britain, Australia, Germany, France and other countries and the anti-China global public opinion network. Stating that China should be prepared to fight such battles in the near future, it recommended that the basic focus of winning public opinion battles in other countries China should be to: 
Prepare for "attacks" from the U.S. and other media by understanding how foreign media works. 
Establish a coordination mechanism for 24-hr monitoring and responding to US media and foreign public opinion. Involve government media, private media, diplomats, enterprises and think tanks to coordinate quick and effective counter-attacks.
Use supervision of public opinion to increase trust and reduce doubt. ("Don't cover up, scapegoat, or show partiality in proven shortcomings. some deficiencies in the process of foreign aid and epidemic prevention should be reported to govt depts for improvement".)
Diversify external communications. Strengthen non-mainstream media, support WeChat, Weibo and Tiktok to counterbalance Twitter, FB and YouTube. Mobilise companies, think tanks, foreign scholars and experts who are "China-friendly" to speak and write articles on foreign platforms.
Improve empathic communication to create an image of objective, fair media. Use statistics e.g. Pew survey showing 65% of Americans think Trump's coronavirus response is slow. "Use foreign audiences' favourite expressions & narrative forms to affect them" especially on social media.
Strengthen and train human talent for foreign communications. Hire and train people to write Op-Eds in foreign languages. Hire or "borrow" think tank experts and foreign journalists for China's use, e.g. to edit Chinese state media abroad and help it reach native standards.

Subscribe to Newswire | Site Map | Email Us
Centre for China Analysis and Strategy, A-50, Second Floor, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi-110057
Tel: 011 41017353