(Minghui.org) The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is no longer satisfied with just controlling the thoughts of people inside China. It has aggressively extended its tentacles to media overseas. WeChat, the most popular Chinese-language social media app, and TikTok, have played right along with it.

Alarmingly, the CCP was quite successful in controlling the overseas media, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report “How WeChat is helping the CCP control Australian media outlets” on December 17, 2020.

The report, based on the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI)’s study of 24 Australian media companies, found that “(a)t least four Chinese-language media companies operating in Australia have financial links to the Chinese Communist Party and at least 17 are connected to Beijing's overseas influence arm.”

ASPI revealed, “representatives of the Chinese-language media arms of the Australia Broadcasting Corporation and Special Broadcasting Service have attended media forums held by China's overseas propaganda arm, the United Front Work Department (UFWD).”

“Senior government sources conceded more work needs to be done to counter the influence of the CCP and the UFWD over Chinese-language media in Australia.”

The report explained how WeChat is helping the CCP to control foreign media.

Media companies need to register WeChat accounts for their company to post articles on the WeChat app. WeChat offers two options: register through the international version of WeChat or through the version used in China. By limiting international account to just four posts a month, WeChat “encourages” foreign companies to register their accounts in China, which the CCP has full censorship over.

WeChat “may be driving the most substantial and harmful changes ever observed in Australia's Chinese-language media sector,” said ASPI.

It has long been held that the media is the fourth estate of the government and an “uncrowned king.” It is supposed to be the platform to reflect public opinion, with the responsibility and vocation to deliver the truth to the world. 

Most countries honor freedom of speech. However, to secure its power, the CCP has consistently suppressed people’s thoughts and stifled freedom of speech. And it has extended its control over overseas media for many years.

Unfortunately, many people, including governments, have not realized the full danger behind this trend.

The Politburo of the CCP Central Committee held a meeting on overseas propaganda in mid-January 2009. It concluded that the infiltration and manipulation of overseas Chinese-language media had been effective. It decided to spend huge amounts of money and manpower to infiltrate Western mainstream media from that year onward, to support its “big overseas propaganda” campaign. Subsequently, many U.S. and European media began to “self-censor,” often hiding the truth and not publishing reports exposing the various vices of the CCP.

Beijing also issued the “Opinions on Accelerating the Development of Deep Media Integration” in September 2020. The opinion emphasized, “strengthen the connection between the media and the audience, and construct channels that the masses cannot live without.” The CCP has integrated traditional media such as the Internet, radio, and television with new media including WeChat and TikTok, and disseminated a large amount of official brainwashing propaganda on the “fusion media.”

TikTok, with 400 million active users daily, is recognized as spyware and a CCP tool. For example, the CCP has started a major propaganda campaign to cover up the fact that COVID-19 virus started in Wuhan in late 2019. It disseminated a large number of short videos by official media on TikTok, either falsely claiming that “U.S. soldiers brought the virus to Wuhan” or producing seemingly “objective and rigorous” analysis to feed the public exaggerated and false misinformation.

The Washington Post, in its article “TikTok’s Beijing roots fuel censorship suspicion as it builds a huge U.S. audience” on September 15, 2020, stated that TikTok “could prove to be one of China’s most effective weapons in the global information war, bringing Chinese-style censorship to mainstream U.S. audiences and shaping how they understand real-world events.”

Japan, New Zealand and other countries proposed to ban TikTok; the United States requested the Chinese company to sell its U.S. business to a U.S. company; and India announced a stop to using hundreds of mobile apps made in China, including TikTok.

WeChat, with one billion active Chinese users, is an even more dangerous weapon that the CCP uses to control public opinion. China’s Ministry of Public Security took over WeChat's back-end servers for stronger control in 2014. It also blocked all other international social media, forcing overseas Chinese to communicate with their relatives in China through WeChat.

Every government should be vigilant about the CCP’s attempt to control their media. People around the world, especially the Chinese diaspora, should understand the danger of the CCP’s propaganda tools and should seek the truth via other media channels.

Only then, will people still retain their freedom of speech and freedom of the press, and maintain their conscience.