Headline: China’s Covert Propaganda Operation Targets Filipinos, Undermines Philippines’ Position in the West Philippine Sea
In a recent revelation, it has been exposed that China has been conducting a covert propaganda operation targeting Filipinos in an attempt to undermine the Philippines’ position in the West Philippine Sea (WPS). This operation involves the use of paid hackers and social media manipulation to spread false information and create confusion among the Filipino population.
According to investigations by Facebook, the individuals behind this operation have been traced back to Fujian province in China. They have created 161 accounts, 11 pages, and nine groups on social media platforms, attracting at least 133,000 followers. This alarming discovery highlights China’s efforts to sway Filipino public opinion in its favor by engaging in psychological and cognitive warfare.
Jonathan Malaya, the National Security Council Assistant Director General, has pointed out that China’s political operators are deliberately creating confusion among Filipinos to undermine the country’s position in the WPS. By sowing division and suspicion, China aims to weaken the Philippines’ stance on the territorial dispute.
Peter Chalk, a former senior analyst at Rand Corp., emphasizes that China’s subversive operations have escalated alongside the heightened sea conflict. The Chinese government has reportedly deployed agents within the highest echelons of the Philippine government and security establishment. These agents, supported by China’s United Front Work Department, aim to shape the narrative in favor of Beijing’s interests.
One incident in August 2022 serves as a prime example of China’s influence. The head of a local group had to withdraw his candidacy for deputy national security advisor after being accused of having close links to China and selling classified information about the WPS dispute. These covert operations extend beyond social media, with major Filipino media outlets being hijacked to act as mouthpieces for the Communist Party’s position.
While concrete evidence of Beijing’s direct involvement in media ownership is yet to be established, the United Front Work Department’s alleged role in fostering biases within these outlets raises concerns. It is crucial to recognize the manipulation of information and the dissemination of pro-Chinese propaganda through various channels.
To achieve its strategic goals, China aims to decouple American-Philippine defense cooperation. This objective drives its continuous and intensifying propaganda offensive against the Philippines, especially as cooperation between the Philippines and the US increases. Filipinos must exercise caution and critically evaluate the information they consume, as propaganda warfare conducted through online influence can be highly influential.
The Filipino population’s high English literacy and voracious consumption of digital information make it an ideal target for China’s propaganda campaign. With 73.1 percent of the population being internet users spending an average of 11 hours and 10 minutes online, it is crucial to remain vigilant against misinformation and ensure accurate reporting.
As Filipinos navigate the complex landscape of the WPS dispute, it is essential to consider multiple perspectives and avoid falling victim to misguided propaganda. Upholding unity and a well-informed citizenry will be vital to protect the integrity and sovereignty of the Philippines.
In conclusion, China’s covert propaganda operation targeting Filipinos represents a significant threat to the Philippines’ position in the West Philippine Sea. By employing psychological warfare and cognitive manipulation, China actively seeks to undermine the country’s stance on the territorial dispute. Vigilance, critical thinking, and unity among Filipinos are essential to safeguard the nation’s interests in the face of this sophisticated propaganda campaign.