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Disarming the Pacific can start by Disarming the Discourse.

From the Washington Post to Fox News, China is consistently depicted as a threat to American interests, whether it be through online spying or military standoffs in the South China Sea. The myth that China is our enemy endangers the lives and safety of Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and all marginalized communities threatened by nuclear war. As the U.S. military and media target China, it’s vital we have a fair and balanced understanding of a society with 1.4 billion people. Here’s how you can spot disinformation and promote peace in the Asia-Pacific!

Consequences of Compartmentalized Info

Information the public should know is kept hidden, while misleading or false information is steadily leaked to the press. Whistleblowers are imprisoned, while “authorized” leaks hardly face any scrutiny.

Compartmentalized information impedes the ability for intelligence and scientific results to be validated through peer review, resulting in fictions and peculiar experiments.

  • Acoustic kitty (1960s)
  • Injecting sick people with plutonium and homeless people with uranium (1940s)
  • MKUltra (1953-73)

The Power of Secrecy

People tend to view classified information as being more valuable and of higher quality than public information. 

People judge decisions that are perceived to be based on classified information more highly than decisions based on public information

Strategic Leaks

A monopoly over the flow of certain information, like a monopoly over the use of violence, is extremely powerful. Intelligence agencies, using secrecy as a brush and the media as their canvas, can paint any picture they like with misleading or even false information. If a military or intelligence official wants to procure more funding for their mission, what might they do? Every president since FDR has attempted to reign in the “dark state” and failed, because doing so would limit the president’s own power as well. Congress needs to act by passing legislation aimed at systematically identifying and declassifying information the public ought to know.

Whistleblower, Frank Snepp, who worked at the CIA from 1968-1976, describes how the agency manipulated the media, congress, and the public through targeted leaks or inside scoops

Throw the Stone and Hide the Hand 

The U.S. military is notorious for provoking its official enemies only to portray ensuing responses as acts of aggression. 

For example:

As reported by the South China Morning Post, “in 2021, large US reconnaissance aircraft conducted around 1,200 close-in spying flights over the South China Sea” alone, while noting that US warplanes traverse the East China Sea as well as the Yellow Sea. The Chinese military deploys fighter jets to intercept and deter aircraft approaching its airspace, however intercepting jets occasionally approach reconnaissance aircraft rather closely, which U.S. military and intelligence officials characterize as aggressive and unprofessional intercepts. 

In this AP News article, and others like it, focus lies solely with the conduct of the Chinese pilot without any regard to the larger question of why the U.S. is flying daily reconnaissance missions against China, which allow for such dangerous situations to arise, in the first place. 

In 2001, the Hainan Island incident between a U.S. Navy EP-3 and Chinese J-8 resulted in the death of a Chinese pilot, detainment of all 24 EP-3 crew members, and a tense standoff which lasted for 10 days. 


Prevailing narratives in the U.S. criticize how countries react to circumstances the United States can hardly relate to. Western media cannot fathom why deepening economic and military ties between Taiwan and the U.S. is unacceptable for China. 

Propaganda Works

Hot Air and Empty Words - The Weather Balloon

Each article has information from govt. officials contradicting was being reported elsewhere the same day. BBC and CNN articles both cite anonymous officials, paint inconsistent picture regarding the airship taking pictures. Same-day Reuters article calls into question the validity of a claim made in the two previous articles with the Biden administration being unable to say data was being transmitted in real time. 

U.S. Wages Global Propaganda Campaign

NYT: “American intelligence agencies have assessed that China’s spy balloon program is part of a global surveillance…according to three American officials.” 

“The balloon flights, some officials believe, are part of an effort by China to hone its ability to gather data about American bases — in which it is most interested — as well as those of other nations in the event of a conflict or rising tensions. U.S. officials said this week that the balloon program has operated out of multiple locations in China.”

“The New York Times reported Saturday that a classified intelligence report given to Congress last month highlighted at least two instances of a foreign power using advanced technology for aerial surveillance…. The research suggested China was the foreign power.”

State Department Begins Campaign to Divulge China’s Spy Balloon Secrets:

“U.S. diplomats abroad have been setting up meetings in their host countries to inform governments of the surveillance program.”

“The American briefings to foreign officials are designed to show that the balloons are equipped for intelligence gathering and that the Chinese military has been carrying out this collection for years, targeting, among other sites, the territories of Japan, Taiwan, India and the Philippines.”

Local News Meteorologist Calls Out NYT!

Confusion of the Highest Order

On June 29, Reuters reports Pentagon spokesperson Pat Ryder refuting claim data transmitted in real time; no data to transmit in the first place. What do they think “spy” means? U.S. claims the balloon had “signals intelligence capabilities” likely based off fact it had multiple antennae (not surprising for long-distance climate research). The balloon’s flight path was said to be deliberate, citing “close proximity” to military bases but avoiding such a path is near impossible!

The Damage Was Done

Same day, ABC also covered what really happened with the balloon according to Pat Ryder (although ABC story uses the word “spy balloon"), but WSJ published this:

Blinken postponed his trip to Beijing and on his way to eventually go, he stopped in Papua New Guinea to sign a defense agreement competing with China

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets Papua New Guinean Prime Minister James Marape

Misinformation: the Other Pandemic

By May 2020, the U.S. recorded 1 million cases of Covid, and by the end of that month, 100,000 Americans would be dead. Trump and Pompeo told a scared country that Covid was leaked from a Chinese lab, citing undisclosed intelligence.

Images showed “wet markets” which critics say played on the “sick man of Asia” trope. Only a year later, this was acknowledged by Politico to come from cherry-picking evidence with the intent of trolling China.

Biden Takes Torch From Trump 

CNN/May 29, 2021

Still, Biden officials gave the lab leak theory life based on an intelligence reportGordon, with Judith Miller, once pushed claims Iraq could disperse biological agents through drones or airplanes Gordon co-wrote WSJ article claiming, “three researchers from China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care.” An anonymous source: “The information that we had coming from the various sources was of exquisite quality.” But the source admits it’s not known why researchers were sick. The article relies on far-right Hudson Institute’s Senior Fellow David Asher’s testimony and the fact China has not disclosed medical records of citizens without potential COVID-19 symptoms. But several other unnamed U.S. officials admit the Trump-era intelligence to be exactly what it is – circumstantial. 

Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Shi Zhengli revealed in July 2020 all her staff and students negative for Covid. Shi shared bat coronaviruses she observed in in her lab. Georgetown U COVID-19 origin specialist Daniel Lucey welcomed Shi’s transparency: “There are a lot of new facts I wasn’t aware of. It’s very exciting to hear this directly from her.”  In March 2020, American virologist Kristian Anderson co-published a Nature Medicine paper concluding COVID-19 was not from a lab or “purposefully manipulated.” A year later, the World Health Organization (WHO) found COVID-19 was most likely a result of animal transmission and that a leak was “extremely unlikely.” 

Department of Energy’s classified intel fodder for Wall Street Journal

Increase in anti-Asian hate in the U.S. and CNN 2020 Democratic primary debate moderators asking Bernie Sanders (20:36) how he would punish China if elected president. China’s Supreme People’s Court reprimanded Wuhan’s police for silencing Li Wenliang, something Dana Bash fails to mention


Genesis of the New Cold War - Timeline

Interference in the Trump Era - Timeline

Weapons and Threats - Timeline

Techno-Orientalism - Test your critical thinking skills

Read this article about NSA Director Avril Haines testifying to Congress about an unclassified joint-intelligence agency report on the China threat; CBS mentions TikTok, which was not mentioned in the report but is posed as a threat according to FBI speculation.

Now read this Washington Times article that talks about Google’s fears of China’s spying on American AI innovation 

Microsoft alleges China is turning voters apart, without evidence. But Business Insider takes them for their word.

Military spooks are the source of this Reuters piece on the AI arms race which misrepresents China’s military and Taiwan tensions. Defense official Kathleen Hicks going full force into AI drone warfare investment

Heads of intelligence agencies brief conference: CBS News/March  8, 2023

Give It To Me Strait 

Media omits Taiwan public opinion on cross-Strait reporting, does not adequately cover pro-reunification voices or critics of Taiwan Independence. 

Taiwan Independence is opposed by U.S. at least officially; such opposition is required to have relations with China.

CNN and France 24 exaggerate tensions over Taiwan, ignores One-China policy.

Escalation Is Never About Safety

New York Times/September 18, 2023

Brookings Institute/April 5, 2023

In August 2022, Taiwan pro-peace advocates protest then-U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit.

What Are The Material Reasons? 

  • China is expected to surpass U.S. as world’s largest economy by 2030
  • China’s military is advancing to the status of a peer competitor
  • Anti-TikTok legislators get money from Meta and Alphabet
  • U.S. concerns of access to undersea cables and who controls shipping lanes and semiconductors
  • U.S. imperial anxiety since 2008 especially

How We Disarm the Discourse?