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DOJ Alleges China Used Troll Farm To Target Chinese Govt. Critics In The US

"The PRC government deploys its national police and the 912 Special Project Working Group not as an instrument to uphold the law and protect public safety, but rather as a troll farm that attacks persons in our country for exercising free speech in a manner that the PRC government finds disagreeable."

DOJ Alleges China Used Troll Farm To Target Chinese Govt. Critics In The US - SurgeZirc SA
DOJ Alleges China Used Troll Farm To Target Chinese Govt. Critics In The US.

The Justice Department contends in an 89-page complaint unsealed on Monday that 34 current and former members of China’s 912 Special Project Working Group engaged in a multi-year campaign to harass critics of Xi Jinping’s leadership and disparage American policies.

To target Chinese dissidents in the United States, the task force, which is part of China’s domestic security agency, generated thousands of phoney social media profiles, including on Twitter and Facebook.

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According to screenshots provided by the Justice Department, many of the personas did not have more than a dozen accounts following them, but they all tried to pass as legitimate American voices.

According to The Wall Street Journal, one account claimed to be “Susan Miller,” a woman from New York. Another claimed to be “Julie Torres,” a Wisconsin native.

According to the Justice Department, China’s Ministry of Public Security tracked the performance of the operation’s operatives and rewarded those who successfully ran several online aliases without being identified by Twitter and Facebook.

In addition to targeting Chinese dissidents, the group attempted to discredit the US administration by exploiting differences among the American people, adopting a page from Russia’s disinformation playbook.

For example, it circulated misinformation about George Floyd, the Black man whose death by Minneapolis police in 2020 provoked nationwide Black Lives Matter rallies. The group also spread Russian propaganda regarding the Ukraine conflict.

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“As alleged, the PRC government deploys its national police and the 912 Special Project Working Group not as an instrument to uphold the law and protect public safety, but rather as a troll farm that attacks persons in our country for exercising free speech in a manner that the PRC government finds disagreeable.

“And also spreads propaganda whose sole purpose is to sow divisions within the United States,” said US attorney Breon Peace, referring to the acronym for the People’s Republic of China.

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According to the Justice Department, all 34 agents are still on the loose. This is not the first time the US has disclosed a Chinese effort to target foreign dissidents.

US Attorney General Merrick Garland presented a case involving a multi-year operation by Chinese operatives to coerce a US resident to return to China at the end of last year.

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Elize Coetzee for SurgeZirc SA
Elize Coetzee for SurgeZirc SAhttps://new.surgezirc.co.za
Elize Coetzee, a seasoned journalist, is the driving force behind SurgeZirc SA’s world news and world politics coverage. With an unwavering commitment to truth, Elize delves into global affairs, providing live updates, in-depth investigations, and thought-provoking analysis. Whether it’s geopolitical tensions, international diplomacy, or breaking stories, Elize’s incisive reporting keeps readers informed and engaged.
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