A report by the U.S. State Department accuses China of seeking to “drown out,” marginalize and harass those who are critical of Beijing’s treatment of Uyghurs. The report titled PRC Efforts to Manipulate Global Public Opinion on Xinjiang says Beijing is actively attempting to dominate global discussions on Xinjiang and discredit reports from independent sources. According to the report, the tactics Beijing has used amount to “digital transnational repression.” It lists trolling and cyber-bullying as methods to silence dissent. China is also accused of denying criticism from independent media sources by amplifying “positive stories … to counter accusations of genocide and crimes against humanity,” reports Voice of America. The State Department report also alleges that China uses “whataboutism” and false equivalencies, meaning it says other countries are just as guilty of human rights abuses to distract from criticism. “PRC messaging tactics seek to drown out critical narratives by both flooding the international information environment to limit access to content that contradicts Beijing’s official line, and by creating an artificial appearance of support for PRC policies,” the report said. “Messengers use sophisticated A.I.-generated images to create the appearance of authenticity of fake user profiles,” the report said, referencing the use of artificial intelligence.
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