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Chinese diplomats and state media are attempting to drive a wedge between Japan and its G7 partners as Tokyo begins its leadership of the group, Research Analyst Etienne Soula writes in a new Hamilton 2.0 analysis.
By prioritizing the fight against corruption, the United States can pursue a grand strategy that is coherent with democratic values at home and beneficial to democratic actors around the world, Senior Fellow for Malign Finance Josh Rudolph writes in the Fletcher Security Review.
Democracies must focus on addressing their challenges at home in order to make firmer commitments against autocracy abroad, Head of European Operations Vassilis Ntousas writes in the European Parliament Former Members’ Association bulletin.
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Russian diplomats and state media focused on three main narratives:
- Putin-Xi summit: Kremlin-linked outlets pushed a high volume of content celebrating Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Russia, highlighting the two countries’ growing economic, military, and diplomatic ties. Russian state media also praised aspects of Beijing’s peace plan for Ukraine. Finally, they argued that Moscow and Beijing’s partnership left the West “frightened”, in a “panic”, “whining”, and “struck with envy”.
- ICC warrant: After the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin, Kremlin-backed accounts compared the warrant to toilet paper, asserted that the ICC’s actions indicated the collapse of international law, and insisted that US President Joe Biden should be the one facing charges. Later in the week, Russian state media touted a Russian investigation into the ICC.
- Russia–Africa conference: Moscow-connected accounts praised Putin’s speech at the Russia–Africa International Parliamentary Conference. Diplomatic accounts highlighted how Putin had forgiven $20 billion in debts to African countries, doubled the number of scholarships for African students to study in Russia, and offered to extend free food supplies to countries in need. State media used the occasion to push back on Western claims that Russia is isolated.
Chinese diplomats and state media focused on three main topics:
- Putin-Xi summit: Chinese propagandists showcased the meeting between Putin and Xi, with the most liked tweet praising the leaders’ “warm handshake”. However, messaging from Russia and China revealed a power imbalance, with Russia heaping more appreciation on its partner. For example, while Russian state media advocated for the internationalization of the yuan, Chinese messaging never mentioned the ruble.
- The “Ukraine crisis”: Ukraine was the fourth most mentioned country and “Ukraine crisis” was one of the most used key phrases by monitored Chinese accounts last week. China’s readout of the Xi-Putin talks proposed settling the war through diplomacy and asserted that China could play a “constructive role” in brokering peace. But some of China’s most engaged-with tweets about Ukraine criticized the United States for allegedly “smearing China” and profiting off the conflict.
- Warmongering democracies: Chinese messaging attacked the United States last week for its role in previous conflicts. Iraq was the sixth most mentioned country by Chinese propagandists as they criticized the US war there. Three of the four most retweeted Chinese tweets last week attacked NATO over the bombing of Serbia and the United States over its interventions in the Middle East.
TikTok CEO makes case to Congress: TikTok CEO Shou Chew said China’s government does not have access to the app’s data on 150 million US users and that TikTok is not an “agent of China” in his testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee as he attempted to assuage lawmakers’ concerns and prevent a US ban or forced sale of the app. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman told the Dispatch, “TikTok CEO Shou Chew faced an uphill battle in today’s hearing, where he met skeptical lawmakers concerned over TikTok’s China ties. Ultimately, he did not satisfy lawmakers’ national security concerns, which were bipartisan in nature. In addition to China-specific concerns, the TikTok conversation is also finally opening the door to serious movement on the broader tech policy agenda, including on data privacy. We have long known that domestic and foreign tech policy are two sides of the same coin.”
Xi, Putin strengthen partnership, cooperation in meeting: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined their vision of a less Western-centric, more multipolar world order and pledged to deepen cooperation in fields including military affairs, energy, and supply chain diversification during their meeting in Moscow this week. Research Analyst Etienne Soula said, “Xi’s visit to Moscow was a powerful, symbolic move at a time when Russia is waging a war of aggression on Europe’s borders. While Putin got at least tacit endorsement of his ongoing campaign in Ukraine, it seems that China emerges the bigger victor. In exchange for Beijing’s limited support over Ukraine, Moscow offered to help with the yuan’s internationalization, agreed to joint development of the Russian Far East, and endorsed Sino-Russian coordination in Central Asia, an area the Kremlin traditionally views as its backyard.”
Iran deploys sophisticated disinformation and hacking campaigns: Amid ongoing protests, Iran’s cyber army has increasingly resorted to disinformation and spear-phishing campaigns to discredit credible opposition figures and foment distrust and confusion among the country’s populace. Research Assistant Nathan Kohlenberg said, “The hacking and infiltration of foreign adversaries has been a regular tactic of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps for years, but their deployment of these tools against domestic groups reflects the seriousness with which they take the protests and their frustration that this protest movement has endured despite a brutal crackdown by police and militias across the country.”
In Case You Missed It
- TikTok tracking pixels remain in the coding of 30 official US state government websites across 27 states, according to the Toronto-based company Feroot Security.
- Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party uses social media disinformation campaigns, online harassment, and doxxing to silence the government’s female critics, according to a study from #shepersisted, a US-based organization focused on combating gendered disinformation.
- Ohio and Iowa became the sixth and seventh Republican-run states, respectively, to leave ERIC, a data-sharing consortium that combats voter fraud by maintaining updated registered voter lists, amid the spread of disinformation about the program.
- Greece’s national intelligence service used Predator spyware to wiretap the phone of a former Meta employee and US-Greek dual national for at least a year, in what is the first known time a US citizen has been the subject of such cyberespionage in an EU member state.
- Russian hackers exploited a previously undetected Microsoft software flaw between April and December 2022 that was used to hack and spy on the networks of several unnamed European military, energy, and transportation organizations.
- The US government sanctioned four entities and three individuals in Iran and Turkey accused of buying equipment for Iran’s drone and weapons programs, which has aided Russia’s war effort in Ukraine.
TikTok CEO Testifies in Congress. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman interviewed on LiveNOW from FOX
TikTok CEO Is Pressed on App’s Chinese Ties at Congressional Hearing, Defends User-Data Security. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman quoted in the Wall Street Journal
Lawmakers Blast TikTok’s CEO for App’s Ties to China, Escalating Tensions. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman quoted in the New York Times
UK Government Bans TikTok. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman interviewed on BBC World News
Election conspiracy movement grinds on as 2024 approaches. Elections Integrity Fellow David Levine quoted in AP
TikTok CEO to Discuss Data & Privacy in Congress. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman interviewed on Scripps News
TikTok and its CEO are fighting to save the app in the US. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman quoted in CNN
How a TikTok ban in the U.S. might work. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman quoted in CNBC
TikTok Pleads for Its US Future. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman quoted in Newsweek
Buying TikTok would be really hard, even for Big Tech. Here are the most likely to do it, including Microsoft and Oracle. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman quoted in Business Insider
Biden and Trump agree on at least one thing: Something has to be done about TikTok. But its not that easy. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman quoted in Business Insider
Is TikTok too big to ban? Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman quoted in Vox
How dangerous is TikTok really for the US? Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman quoted in Grid
Why pressure is building to ban TikTok. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman quoted in The Hill
Tough talk aside, TikTok may have little to worry about from US lawmakers. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman quoted in MarketWatch
Biden Administration Demands a Forced Sale of TikTok. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman interviewed on Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson
White House Voices Support for Bipartisan Push to Ban TikTok. Senior Fellow for Emerging Technologies Lindsay Gorman quoted in VOA
Lawmakers ponder if a TikTok crackdown is good policy — or good politics. ASD research highlighted in the Washington Post
“The world was astonished to see innocent civilians in Bucha killed one year ago. I really feel great anger at the atrocity upon visiting that very place here. I would like to give condolence to all the victims and the wounded on behalf of the Japanese nationals. Japan will keep aiding Ukraine with the greatest effort to regain peace.”
- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said during a previously unannounced visit to Kyiv on March 21, where he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.