The US is the true “empire of lies”, the Chinese foreign ministry said on Saturday, lashing out at a US state department report that accused Beijing of ploughing billions of dollars annually into information manipulation efforts.
China is manipulating global media through censorship, data harvesting and covert purchases of foreign news outlets, the US state department said in the report.
Despite the unprecedented resources devoted to the campaign, Beijing had hit “major setbacks” when targeting democratic countries, due to local media and civil society push-back, according to the report. The report has disregarded facts, and is itself false information, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
The agencies of the state department that produced the report “were the source of false information and the command post of ‘cognitive warfare’”, the Chinese ministry said. “Facts have repeatedly proven that the United States is the true ‘empire of lies’,” it added.
The US report comes amid controversy over China’s attempts in recent years to increase the global footprint of its government-controlled media. Beijing is seeking to combat the negative images of China it feels are propagated by global media.
China’s factory activity in September recorded its first expansion in six months, an official survey said on Saturday, providing another sign that the world’s second-largest economy is gradually improving following its post-pandemic malaise. According to the government statistics bureau and an official industry group, the monthly purchasing managers’ index rose to 50.2 this month from 49.7 in August measured on a 100-point scale. Numbers above 50 indicate activity is increasing.
Measures of production all rose from August, the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said. But the bureau’s senior statistician, Zhao Qinghe, said the manufacturing industry still faces some difficulties.