NZ expert tells US of Chinese propaganda

A Canterbury expert on Chinese propaganda has made a rare appearance before a United States security commission.

Canterbury University associate professor Anne-Marie Brady travelled to Washington last month to appear before the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission's hearing on China's propaganda operations. The commission was established by the US Congress in 2000.

Brady was told she was the first person from outside North America to appear before the commission. She believed her invitation was due to her research into propaganda in China, enabled by a $634,000 Marsden Fund grant in 2005.

Brady said China had two propaganda machines, one directed at those in China and another focused on Chinese living overseas. Chinese in New Zealand were affected by this, as Chinese language media in New Zealand relied heavily on free content from Chinese media. "These papers are important, especially to new migrants to New Zealand," she said. "It's importing the propaganda line to Chinese-language discourse in New Zealand."

The Chinese Government was well aware the Chinese diaspora could be a haven for liberal thinkers and therefore a threat to the regime, she said.

Propaganda focused on promoting nationalism and encouraged a perception that China was unfairly treated by Western media, Brady said.

"It's de-politicising the message; encouraging people to make the connection with China their motherland, not worrying about political affiliations."

She said the success of this propaganda campaign was shown in the global demonstrations of Chinese migrants against Western reporting of the Olympic torch relay and last year's crackdown on the uprising in Tibet.

Protesters in New Zealand were sent T-shirts and promotional materials from Beijing.

The Press