Jaipur Dialogues China’s Misinformation warfare against India

  • Thread starter Apoorva Devanshi
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Apoorva Devanshi

Meta’s recent report has uncovered a significant network of fraudulent accounts originating from China. These accounts have been discovered to be disseminating false information regarding India’s politics and security. They impersonated Indian journalists, lawyers, and human rights activists.

The report revealed that the network of these fake accounts focused on Arunachal Pradesh and predominantly posted in English, with a few posts in Hindi and Chinese. They made accusations against the Indian government, alleging corruption and support for ethnic violence in the state of Manipur.

Introduction –

Wars aren’t just fought on plains and valleys but also on information using internet highways. China has been resorting to psychological warfare using misinformation since a decade. It aims to become the superpower around which other countries revolve.

India being a rising power in Southeast Asia threatens its position and hegemony. With elections around, china has started targeting U.S, Taiwan and India. Such kind of modern warfare is not only cost effective but also efficient as using internet it can sow seeds of doubts or can cause riots or advance its own agenda.

Such warfare distorts facts, spreads misinformation using technology and selective messaging to trigger the target audience’s emotions and logical reasoning.

China’s misinformation warfare examples-

This isn’t the first time such a thing has come to light. Following are the multiple instances of Chinese involvement in Indian politics-

  1. Closure of Tamil Nadu’s Sterlite copper plant -According to the submissions made in court, Chinese companies had financed the anti-plant protests.
  2. PMLA (Prevention of Money Laundering Act) investigation into the Hathras case revealed the Chinese link in fundraising. Four PFI/CFI members, who were on their way to Hathras to incite communal riots and spread terror were detained by UP Police.
  • According to an investigation by the ED – KA Rauf Sherif, a PFI member and the national general secretary of Campus Front of India (CFI), received over Rs 1 crore in his bank account under the pretence of engaging in mask trading with China.
  • Similarly, in the Bengaluru riots, Kaleem Pasha of the Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) received Rs 5 lakh from Jumpmonkey Promotions India Pvt Ltd- a Chinese-controlled business.
  1. The Former Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane underlined the role of “Chinese aid to various insurgent groups” in the North-Eastern state and stated that the involvement of foreign agencies in violence-hit Manipur “cannot be ruled out.”
  2. During Pandemic-
  • China’s state-run media channels, including the Global Times, had been disseminating false information and confusing reports about India’s inability to contain the pandemic.
  • It tried to manipulate perceptions of its pandemic response by highlighting the effectiveness of its own vaccines while discrediting India’s vaccine using social media platforms and reports.
  • The disinformation campaign intended to disseminate false information about the virus’s origins and undermine the effectiveness of vaccinations produced by India.
  • According to some of these ambiguous reports, India was trying to draw attention away from COVID-19 by inciting tensions with Pakistan and China near the border.
  1. Geopolitical narratives supportive of the Chinese Communist Party were being disseminated by many posts in 2020-
  • Twitter had banned 23,750 accounts for misusing the platform to disseminate misinformation, along with another 150,000 or so accounts linked to China.
  • The majority of these phony Twitter accounts had strong Chinese links and relations with Pakistan while propagating its ongoing social media war against India.
  • Numerous platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube had revealed coordinated large-scale attempts thus implying – propaganda campaigns.
  1. During the attack on the Galwan Valley, Chinese bot accounts circulated fictitious pictures of Indian soldiers on Twitter, implying that the Indian side was severely damaged in the standoff. The purpose of this was to demoralize both the Indian people and the Indian armed forces.
  2. The US think tank New Kite Data Labs disclosed in August of last year that Speech Ocean, a Beijing-based AI and data collection company, had obtained voice samples from military-sensitive areas of India, such as Jammu & Kashmir and Punjab.
  • It is reported that Speech Ocean collaborated with a subcontractor located in New Delhi who sought out people to record their voices in their native tongue and dialects for meagre payment.
  • The report emphasized that Speech Ocean is known to supply to the Chinese military, and that Chinese agencies purchased the data, gathered from India for it’s use and analysis.
  1. On Chinese social media, there is a lot of misinformation about India which claims that it is eroding its democratic roots and trying to convert all of South Asia into a Hindu nation. That it’s a fascist country and under dictatorship etc.


It can be observed that China has been systematically using “San Zhong Zhanfa”. A three war strategy to establish control and monitor all digital social media platforms. It stands for public opinion/media warfare, psychological warfare, and legal warfare.

This was first used in Southeast Asia, but it is currently deliberately directed towards India. It calls for the use of print / social media, the exercise of soft power via investments and scholarships, the swaying of national opinion, and the dissemination of hate propaganda. Legal warfare is the practice of “bullying” bordering nations into unethically claiming a disputed territory as their own.


The steps taken by India to counter such fake narratives and misinformation warfare are largely Preventive and defensive in nature. Measures like the “National Digital Literacy Mission”, “Satyamev Jayate” and the fact checking units under PIB are all pre-emptive.

Just like China, in this era of information warfare, we need a proactive and a dedicated strategy. The government should develop a comprehensive 360-degree approach involving all the ministries, agencies and educational institutions to win this war.

Instead of blaming the media, taking them along would be more beneficial. Awareness needs to be created among students by incorporating subjects like – ‘recognizing fake news’ in the syllabus. Such initiatives should also include media and general public.

Collaborations with social media companies can be efficient in fact-checking. Establish institutes and promote research in Cybersecurity, Spamouflage, Deepfakes and AI. A dedicated cybersecurity law is the need of the hour.

The Indian Armed forces and intelligence agencies should be making investments in Information Warfare. It should invest in psychological operations, electronic and cyberwarfare. By using cutting-edge technology like artificial intelligence to spread narratives that are favourable to India.

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