A leading advisor to the Chinese government has called on the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to crack down on people spreading false information online, after claiming that fake news is polarising Chinese public opinion and fuelling hostility towards the West.
Jia Qingguo, a senior government advisor and the former dean of the School of International Studies at Beijing’s prestigious Peking University, has called for new laws to prevent the spread of “fake news” after claiming poor quality online information is driving an increase in nationalist ideas.
In an interview with Chinese newspaper Sichuan Daily, Qingguo argued that the spread of online misinformation is harming China’s interests by increasing the Chinese population’s hostility towards Western countries.
The diplomacy expert said the internet has increased the spread of misinformation, as he argued that viral videos, showing Westerners criticising China, were shared online by Chinese nationalists.
“Because of the low cost, speed and wide coverage of internet communication, compared with traditional communication methods, [and] assisted by some marketing means, false information can be spread rapidly and widely,” Qingguo said.
“For example, there are often people on the internet who, for some reason, present a foreigner’s vicious remarks against China as the opinion of representing everyone in that country, thereby inciting the public’s discontent and hostility towards that country and its people,” the government advisor added.
The comments come as Chinese censors have taken a stringent approach to censoring online information relating to China but have taken a more relaxed approach to censoring information about the West.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has also led to a sharp rise in the circulation of online conspiracies in China.
The calls also come after the Russian government said those spreading fake news about the Russian military could face up to 15 years in prison.