Chinese State Media Promote Pro-Hamas Propaganda

Communist-controlled outlets accuse Israel of targeting civilians and hindering the delivery of humanitarian aid

Xi Jinping (Feng Li/Getty Images)
January 9, 2024

Chinese state-controlled media outlets have been promoting pro-Hamas propaganda since the Iran-backed terror group last year launched its war on Israel, hoping to erode Western support for the Jewish state and undermine U.S. interests, according to a Washington Free Beacon review of Chinese Communist Party publications.

In the past month, CCP-controlled outlets have accused Israel of targeting civilians, hindering the delivery of humanitarian aid, killing children, and being an occupying force in the region. The reports—promoted across X, formerly Twitter, and other English-language social media networks—echo Hamas propaganda about civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip and rely on figures produced by the terror group, which are inflated to create the impression that Israel is targeting innocents.

Chinese social media have erupted with anti-Semitic postings in recent months, rhetoric that could not be published on the Communist regime's tightly controlled internet without support from the government. Much of the anti-Israel fervor in CCP media outlets criticizes U.S. support for Israel, attempting to erode American influence in the region and delegitimize the Middle East's only democracy.

TikTok, the Chinese-owned video platform deemed a national security risk by U.S. intelligence agencies, in recent months has allowed a tidal wave of anti-Semitism to take over the platform, according to watchdog groups, further contributing to concerns that China's ruling regime is trying to mainstream Jew-hatred in the English-speaking world. This includes "explicit antisemitic content" on the popular app and support for Hamas's terror attack on Israel, according to recent reports and the Anti-Defamation League, which raised concerns that TikTok is failing to police rhetoric that violates its policies on incitement. With Chinese state-controlled outlets pushing a similar line, experts say the Communist government is directly involved in advancing an anti-Israel agenda.

"The scale of anti-Semitic content on Chinese social media suggests a CCP-backed effort," Michael Sobolik, a veteran China analyst and senior fellow of Indo-Pacific studies at the American Foreign Policy Council think tank. "It's notable that many of the anti-Semitic tropes the party is boosting—tropes about a supposed 'Jewish cabal' controlling democracies—focus on regime legitimacy."

These efforts, Sobolik said, speak to a "stunning insecurity in CCP elite psychology. Secure regimes don't need to stoke racist rhetoric to bolster their security. Yet that's what Beijing is doing: belittling democracy with dishonest narratives to boost its own system."

China's Global Times, a CCP mouthpiece, said Israel's accidental killing last month of its own hostages exposes "the brutal conduct of the Israeli armed forces in this conflict" and challenged Israel's "claims of the justification of their wartime actions."

In another post from December, the Global Times offered support for a United Nations resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, a measure that the U.S. government opposed. U.N. support for the measure, the outlet claimed, "indicates that the US is increasingly isolated in its support for Israel."

China's CGTN, an English-language arm of the CCP-controlled Global Television Network, has also painted a skewed portrait of Israel's war effort.

One recent report, for instance, claimed that more than 21,100 Palestinians, including 8,800 children, have been killed since Hamas attacked Israel. These figures are produced by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, which is controlled by Hamas and is known to inflate casualties.

Analysts tapped by CGTN have in recent months accused Israel of hindering aid that goes into the Gaza Strip, where Hamas is known to steal aid money.

The outlet also published videos claiming to show Palestinian children being pulled from the rubble of demolished buildings, attempting to portray Israel as targeting civilian infrastructure. Hamas uses hospitals and schools as military outposts to maximize the likelihood that civilians are killed when these sites are struck.

Another CGTN post from late last month claimed that the West Bank is an "Israel-occupied region" and that the Palestinian Authority, which governs the area, is not a terror outfit. The Palestinian Authority, however, routinely condones terror attacks, supported Hamas's Oct. 7 slaughter, and pays salaries to terrorists who kill Israelis.

The State Department did not respond to a Free Beacon request for comment, but it recently criticized the Chinese government's promotion of anti-Semitic materials.

"What we saw after October 7 was a drastic change in the social media within China. The antisemitism became more unplugged, more free-flowing," State Department deputy special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism Aaron Keyak told the Washington Post earlier this week. "And because we know that the Chinese internet is not free, that’s a conscious decision by the Chinese government to allow that kind of rhetoric to be greatly increased."