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Updated Nov 30, 2023, 6:11am EST
politics

Former Trump official accuses China of ‘chillingly effective’ foreign propaganda

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., the chairman of the House select committee on China, listens during a congressional hearing
Drew Angerer / Getty Images
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The Scoop

Former Trump administration official Miles Yu will tell U.S. lawmakers Thursday that he believes China is waging a “chillingly effective” propaganda campaign against the U.S. and other countries.

Yu, who served as an adviser on China to Mike Pompeo when he was secretary of state, will testify before the House select committee on China Thursday evening. He will accuse China of mounting a “massive” disinformation campaign against the West using social media platforms like X, Facebook, and TikTok, according to a copy of his testimony shared with Semafor ahead of his appearance.

Yu will call TikTok, the popular video app that has attracted scrutiny in Washington due to its Chinese ownership, a tool for the Chinese government to spread false narratives and “maximize their chaos narrative of American democracy.” TikTok’s CEO testified at a hearing this year that the company is not controlled by China.

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“The Party’s foreign propaganda is more sophisticated, and chillingly effective,” Yu will say. He will accuse Beijing of “leveraging the weakness and gullibility of Western elites” and the “vulnerability of open societies.”

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Yu, who is now the director of the China Center at the conservative Hudson Institute, is one of three witnesses who will appear at a primetime hearing focused on China’s “strategy to shape the global information space.”

In addition to disinformation, he will also express concerns about China’s United Front work and accuse Beijing of attempting to “brainwash” U.S. students through Confucius Institutes on U.S. campuses. All but five of the programs, initially established to promote Chinese language, have been closed since lawmakers targeted them in annual defense bills over concerns they were being used by China to exert influence in the U.S.

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Lawmakers may use the hearing to try to help largely dormant efforts to curtail TikTok in the U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis. and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., the leaders of the China committee, have a bill that would ban the app in the U.S. Such efforts have run into opposition due to concerns about free speech and political blowback.

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