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China Launches Secret Social Media Campaign To Halt Texas Mining Project

Photo by Ray Shrewsberry via Unsplash

China Launches Secret Social Media Campaign To Halt Texas Mining Project

By Movieguide® Contributor

Chinese secret agents secretly posed as Texan citizens in order to stop a rare earth minerals mining project, according to the Pentagon. 

The operation allegedly targeted Lynas Rare Earth and other mining firms in an effort to derail the supply chain. The Chinese agents used thousands of fake social media accounts to make it seem like there was a lot of opposition to the project. 

“The campaign used inauthentic social media and forum accounts, including those posing as residents in Texas to feign concern over environmental and health issues surrounding the plant,” cybersecurity firm Mandiant said

However, ​​Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in the U.S, called the claims “slander.”

“China is one of the biggest victims of disinformation,” Liu told The Washington Times. “China always opposes the creation and dissemination of disinformation. There are some people and forces in the world who are keen to fabricate rumors, slander and discredit China.”

The reason behind the secret operation? China wants to control the global market for these rare earth minerals, which are used to make fighter jets, submarines, smartphones, televisions, electric vehicles, medical equipment, and other high-tech products.

The Pentagon released a statement that read, “DoD appreciates the diligence of Mandiant in identifying this disinformation campaign, and will continue to work with our partners to provide accurate information related to this and other supply chain investments.” 

Movieguide® previously reported on some of China’s other surveillance efforts:

That the Chinese Communist Party exhibits its terrific power play over society predominantly through modern technology isn’t exactly news-worthy. But after the overbearing communist faction has been around for a full century in the country, new developments illustrate how the ruling party is extending its technocratic dominance against other nationalities.

The government’s head, Xi Jinping, said in 2013 – the same year he became president of the People’s Republic of China – that whichever entity or individual “controls data has the upper hand.”

That strategy seems to be playing out rather effectively for the communist leader. Not only does the administration’s censorship cut out undesirable commentary, but China’s intricate network of civilian monitoring technologies put minority populations at risk.

With more than 415 million surveillance cameras operating across the country, China’s populace is “by far the world’s most-watched,” according to CBN News.

According to research put forth from Oxford and Humbolt universities, hundreds of Chinese monitoring systems are employed in at least 72 countries, among them Venezuela, Kenya, and the Philippines. And China’s censorship systems are likewise gaining a footing internationally, finding use in Cuba, Egypt, Turkey, and Pakistan where various media are thereby limited.

Some of the censorship technologies even make their way into other countries regardless of whether or not the governing body has an interest in using them.

In September, the Associated Press revealed that Lithuanian authorities detected that Chinese-imported smartphones had a feature set to censor 449 keywords such as “Free Tibet” and “Democratic Movement.” Even though the feature wasn’t activated, it potentially could be at any given time. Authorities cautioned using such devices.