“Through my lens, I will take you around China, take you into Vica’s life,” tells Vica Li to her 1.4 million followers on YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. Billing herself as a “life blogger” and a “food lover,” Li says her goal is to teach people that China is not what outsiders have been told. It’s a wonderful country where they would be free to travel at their leisure should they plan to vacation there.
Vica Li claims to have “created all of these channels on her own” and that no one but her has access to them, but her actions prove contradictory. Li is also a digital reporter for a Chinese-state-run TV network where she appears regularly, and an investigation found that her FB page is being managed by at least nine people.
China is using global social media as a silent battlefield to spread its influence under false pretenses. Li is but one social media influencer among a network of others with the role of disseminating government propaganda to hundreds of thousands of their followers.
The personalities and their handlers work diligently to negate accusations of human rights violations and to promote the virtues of China’s peaceful cherry blossomed Utopia. The platforms provide the perfect way for advancing Bejing’s view on world affairs, disguised in ways often unknown to their followers.
The Chinese vloggers and bloggers promote themselves as trendy jet-set influencers with a solid handle on the truth that others won’t tell them. China only wants what’s best for the world and they’ve been getting a bad rap from Western leaders who’ve been lying about Bejing’s motives.
The Chinese government went as far as hiring a recruiting firm to seek out the best candidates for the positions. They had to be young and likable to effectively deliver the handcrafted tweets and posts they’d be instructed to deliver.
As could only be expected, a good number of Westerners have swallowed China’s hook. These users have been brainwashed into believing they’re part of an elitist group who can see through the red curtain to the truth they’ve previously been denied. As a result, Western-based Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube channels have been expressly devoted to relaying the false Chinese narrative as the stone keeps gathering moss.
The U.S. is only one of many countries the Chinese have targeted. It’s estimated that at least 200 government-hired influencers are spreading China’s lies in 38 languages according to Miburo, a firm dedicated to uncovering disinformation channels.
The social media influencers don’t point fingers or scream and cuss. They’re sweeter than a creamy custard bun. You won’t find any pics of Uighur Muslims and they’ll be no talk of disappearing Olympic tennis stars on any of the pages. You’ll find lotus flowers floating in serene ponds.
The majority of the Chinese influencers are carbon-copied women who call themselves “travelers.” They share photos of idyllic locations in China and brag about the unparalleled freedoms they’re entitled to. They post about their ideologies and how the Western world has it all wrong.
These people are “influencers” who are very good at what they’re paid to do so be careful out there in social media land. The rule of thumb is to get the hell off any social media page at the first sign of China being praised for anything. But you know this. Don’t you?