China’s Propaganda Blitz on Spying Threats

China’s Propaganda Blitz on Spying Threats

News WeChat

As students returned to universities in Beijing, Chinese authorities launched a propaganda campaign to educate both faculty and students on how to identify and catch spies. Videos were shown at Tsinghua University, urging them to act as a “defense line” against foreign forces, while the Beijing University of Technology held a national-security themed garden party. Beihang University, known for its military links and currently under US sanctions, even asked students to participate in an interactive training game called “Who’s The Spy?” President Xi Jinping has been implementing security controls to counter perceived foreign threats, warning that foreign forces are infiltrating various sectors, including energy.

China is currently facing an ideological battle with the US that is impacting its economy. As the country enters a slowdown, there are concerns about a potential wave of social unrest. In the past, students have led nationwide protests calling for various political changes. Experts have warned that using fear as a means of building political and social cohesion is risky.

China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS), the country’s sole cabinet-level ministry without an official website, recently joined the social media platform WeChat. This move marks a significant change in the organization’s public visibility. The MSS has been posting regularly on its efforts to secure national security, even offering advice to primary school students on appropriate social media behavior. The increasing visibility of the MSS is part of an effort to normalize national security as a top priority in government policymaking.

The campaign to root out spies, however, risks targeting innocent individuals. There have been instances where individuals were suspected of being foreign agents, only to be innocent university students conducting fieldwork research or participating in harmless activities. The hyper-vigilance around secret-keeping is also growing in the workplace, with state-owned enterprises conducting training sessions on state secrets.

While the focus on national security is aimed at protecting the Communist Party’s future, it is also creating a deep suspicion of foreigners. This runs counter to the party’s stated aim of attracting foreign investment and revitalizing the private sector.

– [source article]