During a Tuesday hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, U.S. Indo Pacific Command (INDOPACOM) commander Adm. Phillip Davidson said “China has a vast disinformation machine” with a million people behind it that it uses to undermine the U.S.
Responding to questions by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) about the threat Chinese disinformation presents in the Indo-Pacific region, Davidson said, “They use regular media and social media and have nearly a million people in their propaganda machine.”
Davidson said the goal of China’s disinformation efforts is “to undermine U.S. interests, to capture the narrative to their own benefit and to … corrupt the environment in a way that creates doubt amongst our allies and partners in the reliability of the United States.”
In his assessment, Davidson said China’s disinformation efforts differ from those used by Russia in the Indo-Pacific region. While he said China acts to sow doubt, Davidson said Russia instead “acts much more like a spoiler.” Instead of putting forward its own vision or propaganda narrative, Davidson said Russia looks to “deny the visions” of other nations in the region.