Chile is Latin American country most influenced by Chinese content

Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Chile is the Latin American country most influenced by Chinese state media and propaganda, according to a new report by the Chilean think tank Centro de An谩lisis para la Democracia developed in alliance with Freedom House.

The investigation carried out by the CAD and Freedom House analyzed more than 14,000 videos in order to study the behavior of Beijing’s Spanish-language media strategy. The study, titled Beijing鈥檚 Global Media Influence, analyzed content between the period of March 2020 and October 2023.

Two key measurements were used throughout the study: Beijing’s efforts to influence media in the 30 countries studied; and the resilience and response by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the media, the political community and civil society to this influence.

Upon studying Colombia, Peru, Brazil, Chile, Panama and Argentina in the region, the results showed that Chile had the highest levels of Chinese influence within its media among its Latin American counterparts, as well as a high level of resilience and response on the part of the community.

The study concludes that the Chinese government has expanded its global media presence. Likewise, the CCP and its proxies are using more sophisticated and coercive tactics to shape media narratives and suppress critical reporting.

However, the success of Beijing’s efforts is often limited by independent local media, civil society activity and local laws that protect press freedom, as well as the responsiveness of democratic countries and their mechanisms.

Globally, the countries most influenced by China were found to be: the United States, the United Kingdom, Nigeria and Taiwan, all registering very high levels of Chinese influence. The likes of Australia, Indonesia, the Philippines, France, Spain, Italy, South Africa and Chile, also had high levels in both categories of analysis.

In the Chilean case, an increase was observed in the creation of new diplomatic accounts across social media platforms and more active messaging by the local embassy, as well as continuous efforts to deepen ties with local news producers, through content sharing agreements.

Chile was also found to be the Latin American country most mentioned on social media by the Chinese state media Xinhua. The fight against the pandemic, vaccination campaigns and cooperation between Chile and China were the predominant topics.

The study found that Chileans have generally positive impressions of China and its influence in Latin America, and support the increase in bilateral ties with China. However, they consider its economic and social model to be unattractive for the country, with evident skepticism.

Chinese diplomats actively participated in publishing articles and participating in media interviews, although their presence was not as notable on social media. Regarding traditional media, the trend was to replicate articles published by the state media like Xinhua.

China has also sought the support of the Chilean political elite, inviting interest groups to get to know the country. A strong influence among the local Chinese diaspora in Chile was also observed.

However, the study found that there is increasing skepticism about the replication of news from Chinese media, which is why the local Chilean media has turned increasingly to the opinion of Chilean experts on China.

These results seem to echo the dynamics of the bilateral relations between the two countries. China and Chile established diplomatic relations in 1970, although during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet little progress was made in terms of cooperation. Chile was the first Latin American country to support China’s inclusion in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and later, in 2005, the first country in the world to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with China.

In 2012, Chile and China became 鈥渟trategic partners鈥 and their relationship was elevated to the status of 鈥渃omprehensive strategic partnership鈥 in 2016, the highest designation under the Chinese government. Chile is also part of the Belt and Road initiative.

Main source:

Estudio asegura que Chile es el pa铆s m谩s influenciado por canales de YouTube chinos en Am茅rica Latina | La Tercera. (2024, Marzo 14). https://www.latercera.com/mundo/noticia/estudio-asegura-que-chile-es-el-pais-mas-influenciado-por-canales-de-youtube-chinos-en-america-latina/FZKTHCYTI5AXBCY3NKZMEKYYI4/

Other related sources:

Beijing’s Global Media Influence 2022 | Freedom House. (2022). https://freedomhouse.org/report/beijing-global-media-influence/2022/authoritarian-expansion-power-democratic-resilience

Chile: Beijing’s Global Media Influence 2022 | Freedom House. (2022). https://freedomhouse.org/country/chile/beijings-global-media-influence/2022

China in the World Community Fund Report 鈥 2022 | Doublethink Lab (2022). https://medium.com/doublethinklab/china-in-the-world-community-fund-report-2022-e04a864a27de

Estudio ubica a Chile entre los 15 pa铆ses m谩s influenciados a nivel global por China en medios, econom铆a y pol铆tica local | La Tercera (2022, Mayo 05). https://www.latercera.com/mundo/noticia/estudio-ubica-a-chile-entre-los-15-paises-mas-influenciados-a-nivel-global-por-china-en-medios-economia-y-politica-local/4Q5WSHLI7JCP7KU7OKDG42T5WU/

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