Protests against the CCP’s attempts to co-opt the Solomons into its Belt and Road puppet state socialist empire have prompted the Party to ramp up propaganda in the island nation.
Independent think tank, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) demonstrated in a report published this week how the CCP is running a ‘coordinated information operation’ against the island nation because of anti-CCP riots in November 2021.
The distinct goal of the CCP’s manipulative disinformation campaign is aimed at shifting allegiances in the Solomons over to Maoist Beijing by blaming the 2021 riots, as well as political, and public dissent, on Australia, Taiwan, and the United States.
ASPI’s in-depth report argued the CCP’s information interference was deliberately designed to influence and undermine ‘Solomon Islands’ existing relationships with foreign partners, particularly Australia and the US.’ (PDF)
A claim, proven by examples from the CCP’s propaganda mouthpiece, The Global Times:
Alongside evidence the regime was ‘spreading false narratives, and suppressing information that contradicts’ the Chinese Communist party line, ASPI said: “CCP officials were also active in pushing a narrative that ‘foreign forces with ulterior motives’ were aiming to smear the relationship between the Solomon Islands and China.”
ASPI added, following leaked news of the secretive CCP-Solomons security agreement in March 2022, the ‘CCP pushed a narrative that Australia and the US were interfering in the Solomons’ affairs; were ‘colonialist’, ‘threatening’ and ‘bullying’; and had no genuine interest in supporting the country’s development.’
Notably, despite aid, and assistance from countries like Australia, which are traditionally aligned with the interests, faith, and values of the Solomon Islands, ASPI’s analysis demonstrated that the CCP disinformation campaign appears to be having an impact.
Although anti-CCP comments outnumbered pro-regime props, an example of propaganda success was seen in how anti-West language used online, had clear links to ‘language featured in the CCP’s narrative, such as, ‘bullying.’
Drawing from their findings, ASPI’s top five recommendations for the Solomons and The West were,
- Quality journalism: ‘The Australian Government should coordinate with other foreign partners of the Solomon Islands, including the US, Japan and the EU, to build resilience in Pacific media outlets and assist in hiring, training and retaining high-quality professional journalists.’
- Big Tech accountability: ‘Social media companies should encourage civil society to report state affiliations.’
- Good government: ‘Improve the quality, relevance and trustworthiness of Australian and US content shared by Pacific Island media outlets.’
- Closer regional cooperation: ‘Encourage regional stability’ by building an ‘Indo-Pacific hybrid threats centre would help regional governments, business and civil society to understand the threat landscape, develop resilience against online harms and counter malign activity.’
- Better transparency: ‘by being more transparent with their own aid and support in the region, demonstrating the legitimate benefit that’s delivered to the Solomon Islands and other Pacific Island countries through longstanding and new initiatives.’
These recommendations would, ASPI explained, work against the CCP’s disinformation operations by building better relationships between pacific nations while providing an antidote to the CCP’s manipulative political talking points.
Taking into consideration legitimate concerns about overreach, bigger government – and the abuse of power under the guise of stamping out misinformation – with the right momentum ASPIs recommendation could also protect the pacific from becoming a pawn in Beijing’s growing Belt and Road slave empire.
The Solomons is one step away from the strategically important Coral Sea. With China’s communist fetish for turning atolls into military bases, securing the Coal Sea and its important shipping lanes, will depend on whether the Solomons can be saved from China’s belligerent Socialists.
The CCP appears to want to hide their own blatant, Communist colonial, empire-building ambitions in the Pacific region. Ambitions that threaten to draw France, New Zealand, the United States and Australia further into what commentators are calling Cold War 2.0.
Thankfully it’s not all beer and skittles in the Solomons for the Chi-Comm hammer and sickle.
The majority of Islanders aren’t buying the kool-aid.
Pro-freedom protests in the Solomons are an opportunity for the West to re-engage and offer meaningful support by exchanging photo-op virtue signalling with substance, stability, life, liberty, and regional security.