Can We Still Be Optimistic About America?

This is a season — an age, really — of American pessimism. The pessimism comes in many flavors. There is progressive pessimism: The country is tilting toward MAGA-hatted fascism or a new version of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” There is conservative pessimism: The institutions, from primary schools to the Pentagon, are all being captured by wokeness. There is Afropessimism: Black people have always been excluded by systemic, ineradicable racism. There is the pessimism of the white middle and working classes: The country and the values they’ve known for generations are being…

Putin’s War on Information Is Far From Over

The info war has also reached Asia, Africa and South America, where Russia has mobilized diplomats and state-controlled media like the global RT network to press its case. The goal isn’t necessarily to win support, but to keep unaligned countries on the sidelines. While some countries, most notably China, have taken Russia’s side, others, like India, have avoided antagonizing Russia so as not to lose Russian military or energy contracts. Many others have done so simply because they know and care little about Ukraine. Russia’s line to them is that…

China’s Echoes of Russia’s Alternate Reality Intensify Around the World

When Twitter put up a warning message atop a Russian government post denying civilian killings in Bucha, Ukraine, last week, China’s state media rushed to its defense. “On Twitter @mfa_russia’s statement on #Bucha got censored,” wrote Frontline, a Twitter account associated with China’s official English-language broadcaster, CGTN. In a Chinese Communist Party newspaper, an article declared that Russians had offered definitive evidence to prove that the lurid photos of bodies in the streets of Bucha, a suburb of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, were a hoax. A party television station in Shanghai…

Your Friday Briefing: Biden Releases Oil Reserves

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Good morning. We’re covering global energy challenges, missile deception in North Korea and the wild world of Wikipedia. War roils global energy access On Thursday, the White House announced a plan to release up to 180 million barrels of oil from U.S. strategic reserves, the largest release since it was created, hoping to push gas prices down. Oil prices, which had been surging since the fighting in Ukraine began, fell modestly on expectations of the announcement. But diesel prices are still soaring. At the same time, OPEC and its allies,…

Biden Officials Contend With Bioweapons Propaganda From Russia and China

WASHINGTON — One of Russia’s most incendiary disinformation campaigns ramped up days ago, when its defense and foreign ministries issued statements falsely claiming that the Pentagon was financing biological weapons labs in Ukraine. Then Chinese diplomats and state media organizations repeated the conspiracy theory at news conferences in Beijing, in articles and on official social media accounts. Now, the Biden White House has taken the extraordinary step of calling out both countries on their coordinated propaganda campaign and saying they might be providing cover for a potential biological or chemical…

How China Embraces Russian Propaganda and Its Version of the War

Hours after Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, the Chinese Communist Party tabloid, Global Times, posted a video saying that a large number of Ukrainian soldiers had laid down their arms. Its source: the Russian state-controlled television network, RT. Two days later, China’s state broadcaster Central Television Station (CCTV) flashed a breaking news alert, quoting Russia’s parliamentary speaker, that President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine had fled Kyiv. CCTV then created a related hashtag on the Twitter-like platform Weibo that was viewed 510 million times and used by 163 media outlets…

How China Uses Contractors to Spread Propaganda on Facebook and Twitter

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境外社交平台注册 Register accounts on foreign social media platforms 按月报单价 Charge monthly 5000.00 元/月 RMB/Month 境外社交平台账号伪装及维护 Disguise and maintain overseas social media accounts 按月报单价 Charge monthly 5000.00 元/月 RMB/Month 制作原创视频 Create original videos 按月报单价 Charge monthly 40000.00 元/月 RMB/Month A list of services and costs itemized in Chinese renminbi from a private contractor that won a bid to work for a branch of the Shanghai police department. • Note: English translation by The New York Times from original Chinese document text. Flood global social media with fake accounts used to advance…

Hu Xijin, Chief of China’s Global Times, Will Retire

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During the presidential administration of Donald J. Trump, Mr. Hu would often work late, firing off rejoinders at the U.S. president’s tweets. Other Chinese diplomats and state media journalists followed, taking to American social media platforms blocked in China to hit back at Beijing’s critics. In the process, they have at times stirred international controversy and inflamed relations with other countries. Growing up in Beijing, Mr. Hu was not always the picture of party loyalty. As a Russian literature graduate student in 1989, he joined the crowds of pro-democracy protesters…

How China Censored Peng Shuai

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This article is published with ProPublica, the nonprofit investigative newsroom. When inconvenient news erupts on the Chinese internet, the censors jump into action. Twenty minutes was all it took to mobilize after Peng Shuai, the tennis star and one of China’s most famous athletes, went online and accused Zhang Gaoli, a former vice premier, of sexual assault. Ms. Peng’s post The allegation reached the heights of Beijing’s opaque political system, and officials turned to a tested playbook to stamp out discussion and shift the narrative. The tactics have helped Beijing…

Ahead of Biden’s Democracy Summit, China Says: We’re Also a Democracy

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BEIJING — As President Biden prepares to host a “summit for democracy” this week, China has counterattacked with an improbable claim: It’s a democracy, too. No matter that the Communist Party of China rules the country’s 1.4 billion people with no tolerance for opposition parties; that its leader, Xi Jinping, rose to power through an opaque political process without popular elections; that publicly calling for democracy in China is punished harshly, often with long prison sentences. “There is no fixed model of democracy; it manifests itself in many forms,” the…

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