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Marketing, Social, Tech

Aim2D -Tackling China Misinformation

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Hello again from Aim2D real time, 24/7 #ChinaBusinessMarketing, Tech and Social Media News Portal of Bic Brands based in sunny Shunyi. Tuesdays we look at business, marketing, tech or social news in and around China. Friday is image gallery where we examine a place, topic or subject giving you greater insight, background to life in China, and of course, your Chinese consumer.

2022 in China has been something of a roller coaster ride, so lets put on some retrospective specs and take a look backwards.

We are now over half way through December, time to set decorations and celebrate Winter Solstice – tomorrow December 21st. Year is almost over. Seems not too many days ago it was just starting. Compared to the previous 18+ months, China went through a tougher year, as Covid Zero restrictions began to bite at all levels.

Initially it seemed that despite a few sporadic outbreaks around the country, especially in small regions, it was still under control. Of course this tended to trickle down through China negatively impacting people’s travel and logistics. Exports suffered. But overall, most of China muddled through.

Then the unthinkable happened. Covid hit Shanghai and the Queen City dropped the ball. Media were, quite rightly, all over this with interviews and images that sent shock waves throughout the country. So whilst for a great part of the country life was – relatively – normal (what ever normal is these days~) Shanghaiese thought summer would never come.

But it did and the country was relatively free again. We, in Beijing celebrated with trips to parks, galleries, theatres and of course, relaxing bike rides. But that was all short lived and ended very suddenly when the new and supposedly more easily transmittable variant of Covid paid a visit around middle of October.

Now, where previously just a few districts in Beijing had become used to regular testing and a few days isolation, it spread to beyond the “usual suspect” districts. Friends who had hitherto, like us, been free, suddenly faced lockdowns. It was “Hello 2020” all over again. Even we here in Shunyi faced 72 hour testing. Couriers and packages had to be left at the main gate, entry was restricted to residents only.

End of October saw a new Politburo formed in China. An overall younger and more liberal leaning (liberal by Chinese traditional standards) group. Within a few days we heard of modifications to “ease the stress and suffering of the people under the present Covid restrictions.”

As the days stretched into weeks a slew of modifications, relaxations were announced on an almost daily basis. Perhaps sensing the winds of change, several small groups of students and young people – mostly the gen Z (who have carved themselves a reputation of being no nonsense arse kickers) took to the streets around the country in several demonstrations of defiance. Again media were all over this with headlines screaming:

“Masses of Chinese poured into the streets etc”

But this calls for a little perspective.

By their own original reporting, there were “about 300 protesters on a Shanghai Street..” Hmm, 300 out of a city of 20+ million – doesn’t sound too much likes a mass pouring to us.

Let’s make something very clear here. Aim2D is not part of some alleged rabid Chinese Gvt, mind controlled keyboard warrior army. Like the vast majority of Chinese we know there is a lot wrong in China. A lot of work needs to be done on many fronts, especially social, health, education etc.

But, also like Chinese, we have seen massive strides made in developing China. In improving lifestyles. If we can see it in just 20 years, imagine how many Chinese feel when they look further back, 50 or 60 years to a semi primitive country of poverty. For them the difference is tangible. Palatable. Unimaginable, close to magic.

Now many foreign activists or just trouble makers, are going to highlight the cost in terms of human suffering, destruction of the environment, loss of freedoms. And they’d be right. Nobody here would argue against that.

Yet those who present and support this view point are, ironically, in favour of democracy. Rule of the majority. But they are unable to grasp that in China, despite what appeared to be harsh, stringent control, limitation on free speech, the greater majority of Chinese living here have benefited. It’s a little bit like the British proverb of eggs and omelettes.

If democracy can be defined as governing in the best interest of the majority (it can’t, but its a popular theory) then we can argue that China has been one of the globes most democratic societies.( It hasn’t.) But the point is, anyone can twist or manipulate stats and figures to serve their own purpose.

To reiterate, Chinese know what is wrong in China. And, despite the impression Associated Press etal would like to convey, they are not afraid to say so. As an example, just recently we read that the protests over Covid are the biggest since the Tienanmen Square massacre. That’s a slight (massive) exaggeration or manipulation of facts. David Copperfield would be humbled by that.

It is perfectly true that several groups of what we believe to be younger people or students did protest at in various cities in China. And we applaud that. Human society has the habit of resting on our laurels and letting the grass grow under our collective bums.

We need young active, forward thinking people to stir things up and say things can be better. And so it is in China. Our information is that these were mostly small -as mentioned above – and passed off largely without incident.

We know there were some instances of argy bargy, of pushing, shoving and kicking , on both sides. Regrettable but human nature. Witness the Yellow Shirt riots in France, the BLM in the US and other countries, the various Occupy movements. Tempers are frayed, people are highly emotionally charged; something has to give.

Yet here’s the thing, according to AP and others, the protests in the US, UK, Europe were orchestrated, planed and fuelled largely by violent activists looking for and finding trouble. Agent provocateurs. At capitol Hill they were labelled traitors, insurrectionists, seditionists, anarchists. Anti American -gasp!

Now however, somehow, according to the upside down logic of most media, these same people in China, and earlier in Hong Kong, were heroes, patriots standing up against tyranny for democracy?

Seems media has a bob each way!
Hedging their bets so to speak.

Let’s also just address this new narrative that these Covid protests in China were something of a novelty for the poor, repressed, uninformed and brainwashed Chinese.

Not quite true. Not by a long shot. We can recall a few others over the years, most notably in Shandong province when an SOE wanted to built a petrochemical plant close to a popular beach and shell fish farm. Several tens of thousands of people turned out to protest. That resulted in the facility being relocated elsewhere.

Authorities in a northeastern Chinese port city ordered a petrochemical plant be shut down after more than 12,000 people demonstrated Sunday over pollution concerns, state media said.
Officials also pledged to relocate the Fujia chemical plant from Dalian city, the Xinhua News Agency said.

https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Chinese-protest-prompts-chemical-plant-shutdown-2334707.php

Take note that this was reported by Chinese State media – so much for claims Chinese have no idea what is going on. We are not disputing censorship exists in China. It does. It is very real. Yet, even over 20 years, that is easing – point of fact, around a decade ago, our WordPress was “blocked” in China.

Like it or not, censorship is global, and has been for a very long time. We welcome feed back from anywhere it isn’t. Have you tried finding any information on the war in Ukraine recently that isn’t generated by the CIA and Washington? Elon Musk love him or loathe him, is exposing a few disconcerting images of Twitters impartiality or lack of, in the past. As well as a few others.

Seems it is not only China that practices some form of censorship.

Fast forward to today, where China has, it seems, moved a very long way from the Covid policies that were in force end of October. After years of seemingly constant, incessant clamouring from Western media, of criticism of the Zero Covid Policy, one would be forgiven for thinking the tone would change. After all, China has now moved a darn site closer to the policies currently in force in the US, UK, EU and other western countries. Exactly what Washington and the west has been clamouring for.

But no.

Instead they shift to an attack by underscoring the shortages of ICU beds, medicines, and medic professionals is some areas of China. Highlighting the risk to the elderly in rural areas and the need to protect them. The tone is almost critical of China for daring to put these lives at risk. For allowing the virus to run rampant in society. Yet again, one would be very hard pressed to find anyone in China who was not aware of this. Who was not aware of the risks. Rural Chinese have been living with less than perfect health care for a long time. It is not some dark, deep, hidden secret.

Chinese do not need American Media to tell them what is happening in their own country.

This article from the Guardian last week is one example;
Fears of deadly infection surge as China abandons zero covid policy

Associated Press are running with a similar theme:

But interviews and social media accounts say there are outbreaks in businesses and schools across the country. Some restaurants and other businesses have closed because too many employees are sick.

OK, sorry, but excuse us one moment. We have clients, friends and families scattered around most countries on the planet, and the above could be referring to the situation in any one of them at this time. Except of course western media presents as a closed ranks wall of near silence when it comes to reporting outside China. A rare exception was this piece:

British PM calls crisis meeting over struggling health system

Eeven then it was handled with almost kid gloves, objectively – as news should be – none of the sensational, emotional content used to describe the situation in China which in many ways is similar to the UK and France – – apparently.

“High levels of flu, respiratory syncytial virus and rising Covid levels are exacerbating the problem but the cause is decades of under-investment in staffing, capital and the lack of a long-term solution to the capacity-crunch facing social care,” he said.

Britain is not the only country in Europe struggling to ensure health care. Earlier, French President Emmanuel Macron announced plans to overhaul France’s struggling health system.

Associated press

We would pretty much bet that if you were to take a secret cam into any of the worlds major countries hospital ICU units at this time, the footage would be no less graphite disturbing and chaotic than those being shown of China.

The hidden political agenda behind the west’s China reporting.

This is the same western media who for years have been claiming that the current variants of Covid may be more easily transmittable, but less deadly.

Clearly, western media have changed gears and are now attempting to sow fear and panic in China. Where were these doom and gloom headlines when the UK, US or Europe moved to living with Covid?

This is what used to be know colloquially as “stirring,” mud slinging or good old fashioned trouble making. By repeatedly voicing the same narrative in different forms they are hoping some of it will stick.

Of course, the real objective is cleverly concealed behind layers of supposed benevolent concern for the health and welfare of Chinese. The overall aim is to sew panic, fear, distrust and ultimately a leadership change to one that is “more favourably aligned to Washington’s plan for global hegemony.”

Not too unlike the sustained barrage of deliberate misinformation that was propagated and disseminated in Hong Kong suggesting China had robbed Hong Kong of its democracy.

Yet where in history was Hong Kong ever a democracy?NEVER!
For a century it was a British Colony, subject to the whims of its UK masters with a UK Governor. Native Hong Kong Chinese had about as much control and independence as they had before the uprising. Yet those 20 somethings who were not born under British rule were sold the idea that somehow, their democracy had been stolen.
A stolen democracy. A stolen election – sound familiar?

Let’s stop for a moment and recall a couple of things;

1/ Protecting the elderly and the citizens of regions with lesser developed health facilities was the original aim or goal of China’s Covid policy.

2/ Covid Zero was not a Covid elimination policy. Chinese scientists know that is an impossibility. Covod Zero was to reduce the transmission rate to zero or as near as, to stop the spread into at risk areas.

Of course, as in any society there are a body of people who will oppose this. Who agitate for opening up and “joining the rest of the world.” But scan any social media in China you will find they were out numbered by those who supported the policy. If you are cynical that social media is somehow manipulated, then talk to people. You will find similar results.

For those of us coming from or living in a western, dog eat dog, survival of the fittest, me first bugger you individual oriented society it is difficult to comprehend. But Asians generally have a more group or social oriented thinking.

So, in trying to summarise this, we are not attempting to portray China in a whiter than white light. As we’ve said, China has its problems. We have travelled, have friends and family in other countries and from our perspective, there is no Utopia. Every country has its share of protests, corruption, poverty, unfairness.

What we are taking issue with is the biased reporting that most often accompanies any China related article or story. Often deliberate spin from an anti China political level. All wrapped up as NEWS, where as in fact, it is simple, deliberate misinformation.

So, as we’ve said on other pages, Aim2D was created, not just to counter deliberate anti China propaganda – such as this article – but to provide would be investors in China business with a list of more objective resources where they can learn more about what is happening in China at grass roots level: below:

Aim2d’s aim, is to provide you, the reader and possibly potential player in the China market, with as much updated, relevant general business, marketing, tech and social news about China as we can. Free. We do this to help you make better educated and informed decisions on your business in China.

Talk to Fanfan today about your China Social Media Marketing Plan.

Ms Wang Fan, a founding member of The Bicaverse -China social media creative
Ms Wang Fan, a founding member of The Bicaverse – lead China social media creative

.

A GenY or Millennial  generation Ms Wang brings a fresh, modern, personally realistic viewpoint on how to reach this much coveted China consumer group.

Prior to helping start the Bicaverse, Fan studied Fashion Marketing at Manchester university. She has also travelled extensively across Europe.

A strong supporter of Chinese fashion designers Fan has a close network with many like minded China marketing professionals being instrumental in many of our client’s success.

PRESS to call now and Chat

PLEASE NOTE: while we are really happy to share our content with you and the rest of the world with no restrictions, we must, sadly restrict comments.

Since the start of this year, probably like you, we have seen a mega increase in robot driven, automatic generated spam comments and emails. 90% spilt between Gmail and Yahoo.

This level of assault is unsustainable. It puts both your and our security at risk.

Consequently, from December 1st, we are sorry, but will block all comments from the major free, public email providers. We still welcome all email.

4 responses to “Aim2D -Tackling China Misinformation”

  1. As a short story writer, reading about the ups and downs of life in China in 2022 has sparked some inspiration for future works. It’s interesting to see the contrast between the initial control of the Covid outbreaks and the sudden surge of cases in the fall. The mention of demonstrations and the response from the media also adds an element of social and political tension. Thank you for sharing this thought-provoking update.

    Like

    1. Yes Sebastian, you are right. This would make a wonderful background and setting for the likes of John Le Carre or Dan Brown to name a few. The struggle between a rising new power and a dying old ideology trying to maintain its grip by any means possible. Thx for dropping by.

      Like

  2. As for John le Carré being a spy, he may have been arguably the best writer ever in the espionage genre, but for more on him as an imperfect spy do see TheBurlingtonFiles website and read an intriguing news article dated 31 October 2022. Some mavericks in MI6 called Pemberton’s People thought he was a bit of a couch potato. Mind you, just because ex-spy/historian Hugh Trevor-Roper described John le Carré’s work as “rich flatulent puff” doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read the epic raw and noir fact-based spy novel Beyond Enkription in The Burlington Files series. It’s a must read for espionage cognoscenti.

    Like

    1. Well, we do get some rather strange, mostly unrelated comments which are largely spam but at least yours is interesting. Thanks for dropping by.

      Like

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