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WeChat and propaganda

TikTok is blocked here in China. I believe you can access it using a VPN (which everyone seems to have), but most utilize WeChat for their short video viewing addictions. I have to admit, I've spent long periods of time "swiping" through my personalized short video experiences. These are customized and catered specifically for me. They track my data in all sorts of ways and then provide addicting videos to watch based on my chat, browsing, and viewing habits. My video experience consists of a short list of items. Golf swings and golf humor. Places to visit in China for tourists. Chinese-USA relations. Funny cartoon videos. And then some rather not so subtle propaganda...

What I'm hoping to share here is a sample of what the Chinese government is hitting me with as a foreigner here in China on WeChat. I work under the assumption that it's very controlled. The following is about nine minutes long. You'll notice that it pauses a few times due to bandwidth issues. Several times I swiped to a new video just to try and get to the next one. What I've noticed in the past few days is a swing in Israeli/Palestinian leanings. There's not much middle ground. The videos that pop up are either for or against one or the other. Again, this isn't short, but I wanted to give people back in the states an idea of what I'm seeing on my end.

The videos that are sympathetic to Palestians seems to be trending more and more. I had indicated that it was almost all pro-Israel early this past week, but that's changing. Just after the initial Hamas attacks it was very one sided towards Israel. Now, not so much. I'm can't help but wonder if the videos I'm being fed are different than what a Chinese citizen might be seeing. It probably relates to me looking at NPR, CNN, and FOX on a regular basis. Again, I assume all my traffic is recorded and monitored, but I can't know that for sure.

To test this out Aiyun and I sat down and spent about 10 minutes looking at her feed. It was 100 percent sympathetic to Palestinians. There were several videos saying that there was a lot of fake news being spread. There were no beheaded babies. This was a report from a BBC reporter that later recanted, but once the story was out there it spread. Once they get labeled as barbarians it allows for Israel to commit their own atrocities. These are the stories that Chinese civilians are getting. Western media tries to make Arabs seem like monsters. Chinese media calling western media liars. Color me shocked.

I don't know what's going on. It's all ugly. I see a lot of failed moral equivalency. Is Israel innocent in all this? Of course not. I have serious doubts they really want peace. My guess is they want the land. That said, I don't see videos of Jews celebrating in the streets when innocents get killed. I wish I could say the same for the Arabs in the Middle East. Again, it's all ugly. Makes me sad the more I learn about it.

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NPR has been pretty even handed, focused mainly on how civilians are being impacted, though of late that has been more on how Palestinians are being impacted. As you said, just ugly. One thing I'm confident of: more iolence won't solve this one.

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