Telling China’s Story: The Chinese Communist Party’s Campaign to Shape Global Narratives


An increasing number of state actors have demonstrated sophisticated abilities to carry out influence operations in both traditional and social media ecosystems simultaneously. However, while the technologies leveraged towards today’s information campaigns are new, the strategies are well-established. In the case of China, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has long used an extensive influence apparatus that spans a range of print and broadcast media, with varying degrees of attributability, to advance both its domestic monopoly on power and its claims to global leadership. Understanding this combined capability set and the ways it is being deployed is critical to a full understanding of evolving influence operations strategies. This white paper explores the impact of technological innovations on these established strategies and tactics, asking the questions: what is the scope and nature of China’s overt and covert capabilities, and how do they complement one another? We evaluate China’s capabilities through three timely case studies: 1) Hong Kong's 2019-2020 protests; 2) Taiwan’s January 2020 election; and 3) the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, to understand how China’s abilities compare to those of other powers, we contrast China’s activities with Russia’s. 

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