Secret British ‘black propaganda’ campaign targeted cold war enemies

The British government ran a secret “black propaganda” campaign for decades, targeting Africa, the Middle East and parts of Asia with leaflets and reports from fake sources aimed at destabilising cold war enemies by encouraging racial tensions, sowing chaos, inciting violence and reinforcing anti-communist ideas, newly declassified documents have revealed. The effort, run from the mid-1950s through to the late 70s by a unit in London that was part of the Foreign Office, was focused on cold war enemies such as the Soviet Union and China, leftwing liberation groups and…

Watching a film about communism, I realised I had been lied to as a child in China

I was born in north-east China in a province that was particularly heavy-handed with party propaganda. I learned to march in formation before knowing how to write, and maybe even count. Every morning at school started with a flag ceremony and obligatory salutes to Mao Zedong. Textbooks were illustrated with watercolour Lenins and Stalins, drawn to look much more handsome than they actually were. The propaganda made its way home as well. I think that, even to this day, my father knows only socialist songs. The life I’ve just described…

China-Russian relations carry deep memories of mutual respect… and scorn | Rana Mitter

The troops gathered on the border. The supreme leader decided that it was time to invade, to teach the other side a lesson. Shortly afterwards, troops breached the internationally recognised border and clashed with local forces. Not Ukraine 2022, but Vietnam 1979. In January of that year, the Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping told the US president Jimmy Carter that he wanted to “spank the butt” of his neighbours. For a month, Chinese and Vietnamese forces clashed, leading to a death toll of tens of thousands. Chinese troops withdrew in March…

China attacks ‘US-style democracy’ prior to Biden summit

China has launched a campaign to discredit what it calls US-style democracy in advance of the first of Joe Biden’s two “summits of democracy” later this week. Over recent days, official Chinese media outlets and diplomats have made a string of scathing attacks on the US governing system, calling it “a game of money politics” and “rule of the few over the many”. They also touted China’s one-party governing model, calling it “socialist democracy with Chinese characteristics” and “a whole-process democracy”. On 4 December, Beijing issued a lengthy paper entitled…

The week in audio: Book of the Week; Start the Week; Promenade and more

Book of the Week: 1,000 Years of Joys and Sorrows (BBC Radio 4) | BBC Sounds Start the Week (BBC Radio 4) | BBC SoundsPromenade The Shift Podcast NetworkPreviously on… Succession AcastFirecrotch & Normcore Acast In 2013, Benedict Wong played the Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei at the Hampstead theatre, London. The play was about the 81 days that he spent in isolated detention in 2011, having been arrested by government officials at Beijing airport. He was kept in a small, brightly lit room (the lights never went off)…