back to article China-linked fake news site shows disinformation on the rise

A Beijing-backed PR firm has been accused of being behind at least 72 fake-news websites and social media accounts pushing pro-China propaganda and criticizing the US and its allies.  This, according to security researchers at Mandiant, comes as US House speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan amid a barrage of cyberattacks and …

  1. VoiceOfTruth Silver badge

    In other news

    -> A Beijing-backed PR firm has been accused of being behind at least 72 fake-news websites

    Washington-backed PR firms regularly trot out that the USA is a land of milk and honey and the nonsense of the city on a hill. American fake news: we come in peace.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In other news

      But do those Washington-backed PR firms pretend to be poor honest Chinese women? Or openly operate as Washington-backed PR firms?

      1. iron Silver badge

        Re: In other news

        No usually they pretend to be Top Gun Maverick, Jason Bourne, John Wick, Ethan Hunt, Jack Bauer, James T. Kirk or just plain old Homer Simpson.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: In other news

      Please note; VoiceOfTruth now accepts payment in both Rubles and Yuan.

  2. Winkypop Silver badge
    Big Brother

    SuperGoodDoublePlus Inc

    Got a fascist dictatorship?

    Need some positive messaging?

    Call Xi today!


    Plans to suit any size despotic “government”, from simple juntas to dystopian hell scapes.

    1. abstract

      United to Satan in America

      Are you kidding? Everytime a western representative speaks, it is to show off and lie. After all that happend lately you still want to believe in wonderland?

      Everytime the truth invariably pops out the ocean of western lies, the westerners frantically respond by other layers of lies. They don't understand anything else anyway: greed, greed, greed. No room for anything else.

      1. Jilara

        Re: United to Satan in America

        Yep, Wonderland was pretty accurate. It's full of surreal smoking invertebrates, power-mad irrational characters, and things that make no sense. So yeah. Go ask Alice when she's ten feet tall.

        1. abstract

          Re: United to Satan in America

          Good, you got the point about "wonderland".

          I know it bothers some of you but the kiddish stories you are told in the news just aim to keep you asleep and yes it takes some efforts to wake up...

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Re: United to Satan in America

            "kiddish"? It's childish you numpty.

            Your grammar is bollocks. You seem unable to combine formal and informal styles effectively. Capital W for a proper name unless you are pretending to be German, in which case Capitalise Everything (honest - that's all it takes!)

    2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

      Re: SuperGoodDoublePlus Inc

      Dude! Make me log in just to upboat. Well done, sir!

  3. IGotOut Silver badge

    In the UK..

    .... we call them "Newspapers"

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: In the UK..

      .... we call them "Newspapers"

      I don’t think I can even recall the last time I saw somebody younger than retirement age reading a printed newspaper that wasn’t a free Metro or LES. I guess the websites still do a bit of business.

      I stopped trusting any news outlet after I was involved in a major national news story and I didn’t even recognise the event from the way it was reported.

  4. iron Silver badge

    I don't think fake news sites were needed to push anti-America storylines in the wake of the US Supreme Court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

    The Supreme Court wrote those storylines themselves.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      It just goes to show how backwards China is. Imagine the government owning lying media empires instead of the other way around

  5. heyrick Silver badge


    The problem isn't so much the propaganda, that's been going on forever (Voice of America/Russia/China) on SW anyone?

    The problem is that far too many people these days will believe whatever fits their world view regardless of any resemblance to reality.

    Case in point, how the hell did we end up with

    1. abstract

      Western Propaganda is Global

      The problem is not that they lie and show-off as soon as they open their mouths. The problem is that it works.

      WWII was a war between Hitlers and their self-destruction was a blessing for the rest of the world.

      All that westerners do, is try to manipulate and subdue and it works. Human rights? It is just a tool for manipulation: the Western voice is always the highest whatever.

      I found a book at a well-known bookseller in France that was openly stating that my people were animals. The book was from mid-fifties. Still the french boast about human rights but the truth is that what freed me was not their human rights bla bla, it is the defeat of the french.

      1. heyrick Silver badge

        Re: Western Propaganda is Global

        I'm not really that familiar with France's colonial history. I'm getting more familiar with Britain's, given that surprisingly very little was ever taught [*] about all the pink bits. And I kind of wish I could live in cluelessness about the horrible shit my ancestors did in the name of oppressing, enslaving, and sometimes just murdering people in the name of (their) progress.

        It helps to give perspective of why people felt moved to dump an old statue into the dock. Who it was, what he did...

        * - History lessons (~1986) seemed, from what I remember, to be The Romans, Henry VIII, World Wars I and II, and little of interest in between. Which was a rather eccentric view really. The Renaissance? The Industrial Revolution? The Dark Ages? King James (as in the Bible)? The Crusades? Us buggering up Africa... Australia... India...? Failing at colonising the United States? That whole Ireland thing, not to mention the Scotland thing? Bloody hell, there's so much more I learned from TV and the library than was ever mentioned in formal education.

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Western Propaganda is Global

          I would have been doming my O level history about 1978. We covered all the stuff you say you didn't. Did the history curriculum really change that much in such a short time? Or was it just the school I went to and the exam board we used that was different? Dunno, but it sounds like your course was either sorely lacking in breadth or just far more in depth over a much narrower range.

          1. heyrick Silver badge

            Re: Western Propaganda is Global

            O levels cancelled. GCSE all the rage. That, and as I understand it, trial runs of The National Curriculum that was introduced a couple of years later.

        2. abstract

          Re: Western Propaganda is Global

          My point was not about oppression or victimisation or all the "we are hypocritically sorry for what happened".

          I am simply stating that these people still pretend to give lessons, to tell the whole world what is good and bad according to their sole and only interests. These people want to write History and tell their propaganda with the sole objective to subdue. The horrors of the past are still being perpetrated today before your eyes but as people of the past didn't really care (there really were exceptions) people of the present don't really care either (there are exceptions).

          France was an example but there is no big difference between the way westerners think. The westerners think they are superior, evolved.

          Supremacism is not the fact of some groups that make it to the news, it is intimate to the western egocentric culture and it is not even a modern age thing.

          1. heyrick Silver badge

            Re: Western Propaganda is Global

            "My point was not about oppression or victimisation"

            No, but one has to start somewhere, and that's usually with understanding what actually happened, just as how people are starting to reckon with the slave trade past and more recently the partition of India - <sarcasm>two shining examples of the best of British colonisation.</sarcasm>

            "we are hypocritically sorry for what happened"

            I'm not, and won't ever be. Read Dickens. People like me didn't have it much better back then. Let's see the royals make amends first...

            Yes, I'm aware that as a child in the UK in the 1980s I indirectly benefitted from what happened in the past, but had I been a child 150 years earlier, I'd have been up 't mill, down 't mine, or in 't workhouse.

            "people of the present don't really care either"

            So long as nobody is inconvenienced...

            "The westerners think they are superior, evolved."


            I suspect that might have something to do with the advancement of democracy, general education, social welfare and so on; all of this being seen as advanced and better.

            That being said, what's happening in the United States is rather a "and the wheels fell off" moment. How can they dare to tell others how to behave when some parts think it's okay to send out bounty hunters for women who don't want to carry a child, potentially ending in the woman being sentenced to death? That's some Old Testament shit right there.

            "intimate to the western egocentric culture"

            I think that this is partly to blame for the likes of Trump and Brexit. An old, predominantly white, power is having difficulty coming to terms with the fact that they no longer crap out unicorns, they no longer rule the world, and when they tell everybody else what to do nobody is listening.

            Case in point, for years the UK laid down the rules for the EU and all those red lines blah blah. Didn't quite go as it was supposed to because one side had a lot more power and influence than the other, and one side thought they had a lot more power and influence.

            So I think things are going to be "interesting" in the future in a world where all of these other, supposedly less advanced, places will be the ones calling the shots. I think China, India, perhaps even Russia, will have a lot more direct influence on world events come the 22nd century. Where does this leave the west? Sadly, history suggests we'll be fighting amongst ourselves for the leftovers.

            But, like I said at the top, knowing what happened is the important first step. Knowing what happened and the part our ancestors played in making the situation that we see today.

            Won't change anything, but it's better than oh shiny... <walks off, distracted>

            1. abstract

              Re: Western Propaganda is Global

              "I suspect that might have something to do with the advancement of democracy, general education, social welfare and so on; all of this being seen as advanced and better."

              This is just your supremacist opinion.

              Who told you, you were advanced? You. Who told you, you were a model to impose on everyone? You. Who told you you had values that of course you call universal? You (who cares about the rest of the world?).

              But all this is false. Your culture merely teaches idolatry. You are the ignorants of the middle-ages, even though the propaganda that you repeat, tells you, you are the best and that people envy you.

              Social welfare? You spread destruction everywhere and think there are emigrants to the West because you are more advanced? Do I have to remind you that the 20th century was full of European wars because despite all the colonies those so called advanced were starving to death. Also, maybe you didn't realize that Biden went to Saudi Arabia to ask them to increase oil production in order to lower prices. Why those so called advanced do they need to force other people to do what suits them? What about the people that depend on those exports? Who cares. Of course those dictators you call allies in the middle-east, are there to ensure you have a privileged access to the ressources while all the people around are starving to death, under war or embargo. You steal your welfare.

              Why do think there are wars and chaos all over the place? Because your so called supremacy is imposed with weapons of mass destruction. That's all.

              Democracy? There are millions of muslims in Europe, do they have a say? On the contrary, many European countries took many repressive measures against muslims in the name of whatever.

              Every Arabic country that voted or stood up to get rid of the dictator that the West had promoted, was punished into a blood bath. Of course, the people are the bad people because that's what the western propaganda says.

              When the uprising started in 2011 in Tunisia, it irresistibly toppled all dictators one by one. The West labelled the uprisings "Arab Spring" to get involved. The aftermath is that everything went back to where it was or worse. Who did what? What happened to the irresistible uprising??? Obvious: subdued by the West.

              1. the Jim bloke

                Re: Western Propaganda is Global

                While your arguments about "the West" and its poor behaviour are mostly valid, their weight is diminished by the (non-west) political leadership striving to emulate them.

                There are several "developing" countries with rich resources that could be prosperous and good places to live - but instead their best and brightest are devoting their energy to getting the hell out, because the local rulers have turned it into a shit hole. This isnt because of colonialism - its because the colonial powers moved out, and the tribal factions took over.

              2. heyrick Silver badge

                Re: Western Propaganda is Global

                "Who told you, you were advanced? You."

                Education and media, unless you mean "you" in the sense of "all westerners", which may be the case as your first sentence belies the chip on your shoulder. Stereotyping us as all being the same is the quickest way to end any conversation with somebody who might like to think differently.

                "Who told you, you were a model to impose on everyone? You."

                Same as above, but I don't believe it. For all that is right with the west (in my opinion), there is just as much wrong. Look at how the two main English speaking countries are falling apart because of internal strife. A model for the rest of the world? Uh, no.

                "Your culture merely teaches idolatry."

                Yup, excessive interest in so-called celebrities and people that can kick a ball around.

                I think the reason why a lot of people like Johnson (and Trump, over that way) is not because they're any damn use but because of a cult of personality. We let being a gigantic buffoon cover over stunning incompetence and outright falsehoods.

                It is all mindless drivel, and social media is just pumping out more and more of that sewerage. People pay attention to that, and horrible things escape their notice.

                "Social welfare?"

                Interesting that you make a direct link between that and immigration.

                "What about the people that depend on those exports?"

                Oil is a stunningly bad example given that the oil companies keep on declaring record profits and those who supply the crude have more money than they know what to do with. Bumping up prices and/or cutting production is just greed. The sole and only part of the fuel chain that isn't a giant conspiracy of greed...are the ones paying to fill up their tanks.

                "Why do think there are wars and chaos all over the place?"

                Human nature.

                "Because your so called supremacy is imposed with weapons of mass destruction. That's all."

                Yes, we have a disturbing tendency to enforce our will with things that explode.

                However, it sounds a lot like you're blaming the west for all of the chaos and war and suffering in the world.

                Really? The west made an agreement with the Taliban and left Afghanistan. Things went to shit very rapidly. Don't try to make out that we in the west are the only bad guys in the world.

                "Democracy? There are millions of muslims in Europe, do they have a say?"

                A say in what context? If they are citizens of a country then they get to vote, and have access to the same social services as other citizens. Yes, there may be some degree of discrimination. Same as if they were black, or from The North. Unfortunately it happens, because some people get a kick out of messing with others. It's not right and it's not fair but it happens.

                "many European countries took many repressive measures against muslims"

                If you're referring to the bans on burqa, in the west it is generally considered incompatible with people's rights to require a woman to cover *everything*, walk so many paces behind a man, etc. There is already oppression happening, but certain people only see one type because the other is proscribed from on high and thus cannot be questioned.

                "because that's what the western propaganda says"

                Al Jazeera, propaganda. Russia Today, propaganda. Fox News, propaganda. I don't think it's possible to point at *any* channel and say "there's no propaganda there". Every country and every channel has biases, whether state sanctioned or just an assumption of "we're right".

                "Who did what? What happened to the irresistible uprising???"

                Simple. What happened in the Arab lands is exactly the same as happens in the west. Shit rises to the top. America is a country of around three hundred million people, and I have no doubt there are some amazing people in that country. But look who is in charge of things, be it the President or the Supremes or state legislators. Far too many are somewhere between batshit crazy and simply evil.

                Now apply the same logic to Europe. Then to the rest of the world.

                This is not a problem of the west, it's a problem of how mankind evolved, the innate violence in our history that goes back to proto-humans, far before there was God and/or Allah (or whatever), far before the continents had names. To solve problems with violence is in our nature. To overcome this and try to solve problems with compassion and shared resources? That's how we became civilisations.

                It's a work in progress.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Western Propaganda is Global

              While the actions of the British empire may be unacceptable by today's standards, you should really judge it by the standards of the time.

              The British Empire may have included slave trading, but so did everyone else at the time. However, it was the British Empire (the Royal Navy West Africa Squadron) that ended the Atlantic slave trade. The Royal Navy then did much the same in the Indian Ocean.

              The British Empire exploited the existence of slavery (but didn't create it in the first place), but did more to end global slavery than I think any other organisation. So yes, that actually IS a shining example of the benefits of colonialism.

              But of course, that doesn't suit many peoples' current agenda.

  6. Lordrobot

    Napalm smells like my coffee in the morning

    Rockets over Taiwan.... Pelosi thinks these are fireworks welcoming her visit...

    So stooping to the TRUMPER vernacular "FAKE NEWs" we get this bit of propaganda dumped in our morning Cuppa.

    I don't know how many of you have Websites but I can assure you that Google does its level best to promote its ideology at your expense. I have tech economic websites and the first strike against me from Google Search is I am a Free Trader, a bloody Capitalist. That ideology is now despised in the UK, USA, and the crony legions of Europe.

    My second strike is that I actually think China is fascinating. They competed against the world to become the largest global traders in history. I travel and China's simply amazing. So my view is that using a lead pipe in an effort to stop China growth via the Nancy Kerrigan kneecapping strategy is a failure. But but but Google is all about kneecapping. Google should change its name to LEADPIPE. Schmidt is terrified of China and AI of course because he's nuts. Google is also in bed with right-wing snooping ideology, facial recognition and all the things that Google claims CHINA DOES!

    In the US now you have this insane plutocracy of tech that makes its money off Gov Subsidies. Musk is great at this. He chugs down $4 billion a year from the Fed Gov and has his hooks into the space program, electric vehicles, solar panels, and MORE... I feel like RONCO late at night... WAIT there's more...

    Suddenly out of the chaos of capitalism, Google, the Defense Contractors, Boeing, Musk, MSFT, INTEL are hooking up to the Intervenous needles of the Federal Gov. The corn farmer knew about this long ago as they pour that ethanol garbage into your combustion engines. Save the fact it takes more diesel fuel to produce ethanol than the energy ethanol can deliver. But all things are possible through government subsidies... The minute you start controlling INFORMATION... you achieve your goal of BIG BROTHER. And now the mantra is ... "IF IT IS NOT BIG BROTHER THEN IT MUST BE FAKE NEWS!"

    To do a merger now you have to get approved by a bureaucrat UK< USA< EU... The DOJ approved Google Acquisition of Mandiant. US MULLS BANNING more US tech...

    Welcome to the brave new world of your own making...

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: Napalm smells like my coffee in the morning

      "Welcome to the brave new world of your own making..."

      Our own making? This implies free and fair elections with people making an informed choice.

      Given that recent elections have been more about how bad the other guy is, not to mention rampant misinformation (on this side of the ocean Corbyn and the Jews or maybe the return of the Liar, on the other side "the election was stolen") and everything that led up to that, I'm not sure I'd consider current elections to be entirely, shall we say, free from massive interference? But, then, I think a worryingly large number of people vote for who The Sun / Fox News tells them to vote for. Oh, look, they're both Murdoch. Smell a rat? 'cos I sure as hell do...

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Napalm smells like my coffee in the morning

      "To do a merger now you have to get approved by a bureaucrat UK< USA< EU."

      Only when there may be a risk to competition, so, generally only where the huge multi-nationals are concerned. Our company recently bought another company. There were no approvals needed from bureaucrats other than the usual transfer of ownership registrations.

      You might want to look back in history a little way and find out what happens when there are monopolies or near monopolies and little to no regulation. The textbook case being the "robber baron" period of US history.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    how is this any different to the fake news pumped out by or ?

    1. the Jim bloke

      committing the sin of feeding the troll, but..

      Sure there are media organisations that dont let reality interfere with a desired narrative ... here in Oz the one I see is Sky, but the difference is we have access to alternatives.

      If you are willing to stick your head outside of your echo chamber, you can see different interpretations of the 'facts', or information that is ignored or suppressed by people promoting a particular agenda.

      Get your news from multiple sources - not just different outlets of the same source - apply rational discrimination and judgement (previously trading under the name of 'common sense').

      Is it actually news you want, or just another scripted reality show..

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        What relevance does any of that have to the fake news pumped out daily by and ?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The BBC (and even more CNN) are blatantly biased, but they don't pretend to be anybody other than who they say they are (Other than the BBC regularly having 'independent experts' who are actually labour party activists, but that is slightly different).

          So when you hear something on the BBC, you know that it is biased, and can treat it accordingly (support it or oppose it, depending on your own bias).

          What the Chinese are doing would be the equivalent of the BBC broadcasting but pretending to be GB News.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like