China doesn’t need propaganda.     

Frans Vandenbosch 方腾波 16.08.2023

What is propaganda ?

Every healthy scientific contradictory debate starts with a clear definition. So let’s determine the concept of propaganda. The description of propaganda as “the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses”[1] is correct, but insufficiently precise.

Propaganda as per the old school definition has 10 features:
1. Keep it simple.
2. Repeat, repeat and repeat.
3. Be consistent.
4. Call up emotions.
5. Strengthen the group feeling.
6. Create an enemy.
7. Make your own truth.
8. Think authoritarian.
9. Transcend the here and now.
10. Focus on a broad audience.

These are the features as defined by Edward Bernays “the father of public relations” in his famous book titled “Propaganda” in 1928. Noam Chomsky wrote that Bernays’ honest and practical manual provides much insight into some of the most powerful and influential institutions of contemporary industrial state capitalist countries.

Bernays, after the publication of his book, wrote that “those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of a country.”

Propaganda during and after WWII

Before WWII, Bernays’ seminal premises and research were broadly accepted, they were not at all controversial. At that time, most American people agreed that the society needed some form of “engineering of consent”.

Joseph Goebbels, Reichspropagandaleiter, Germany’s Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda read Bernays’ book, translated it into German and used it as an instruction book for his Propaganda Ministry.[2]   It was only after WWII that Edward Bernays became a controversial figure. In his books, Bernays left no doubt about the commercial and especially political possibilities of propaganda, but he always expressed himself in a very veiled and cautious way. Bernays for example never used the word “brainwashing”, he was talking about “consent engineering”.  Many years later, in his memoirs, after observing the political and social consequences of his ideology, he was deeply disappointed by what he called the abuse of his brainchild.[3]

Propaganda today

Still today, too many western people are in the opinion that propaganda was invented by Joseph Goebbels. That is too much credit for the NAZI minister. In our western media, the name Edward Bernays is almost completely erased from American history.   
Very few people know what real propaganda is. They have a picture in mind shaped by the mainstream media. Usually that picture is skewed and has nothing to do with reality.

As per our western media, propaganda is something that only exist in countries like Russia, North Korea, China. We never read articles about propaganda in the USA or other Western countries.  

Obviously, after Edward Bernays, many new propaganda techniques are discovered and developed. Both for commercial marketing of all kinds of products and services, but even more for gaining more political power and influence.

Jaq James gradually became an expert in the pernicious techniques used by Western propagandists after she moved from Australia to China and found nearly everything she was told about China by Western journalists did not match what she saw on the ground. She uncovered the multiple lies she was fed by Western propagandists. She is the founder of CO-WEST-PRO a syllabic abbreviation for the United States’ ‘Counter Intelligence Program’[4]  At her website, she unravels nine of the most common modern techniques.[5]   All these new techniques still have at least 8 of the 10 basic features as mentioned above.
It is extremely useful to know these by heart and have them handy when watching TV or reading Western media sources.

As said, it is useful to have this knowledge at hand when watching TV or reading mainstream media. Some time ago, I was watching a BBC documentary about  the Uighurs in Xinjiang. Already after 10 minutes, I suspected a “Gold Train” (The Railroad Switch Technique) [6]. And indeed, about 30 minutes later the train was completely turned around and steamed back to its starting point at full speed.

In recent years, fearmongering has become an increasingly prevalent part of Western propaganda. Climate change, global overpopulation, price hikes, energy and food shortage, …

Obviously, the improper use of words, the deliberate transformation of the original meaning of words is also propaganda. Political correctness is a sneaky way of brainwashing. Words aren’t everything but words matter. Sticking to the Western expression “the Middle East” instead of using the generic term “West Asia” used by the United Nations is a form of popular deception. Calling the ‘Middle East’ as ‘West Asia’ is appropriate because it reflects the will of a lot of people (first and foremost the will of the inhabitants of that region. Sticking to the “Middle East” terminology is a way the Western media are trying to obstruct the development of a new multipolar world order. During the past two decades, the meaning of expressions like human rights, democracy, communism, paramount leader, rule of law, and many more are thoroughly transformed to a new meaning, reflecting the newspeak of the western media.[7]

For those who wonder how the mechanism of influencing Western journalists works, I refer to the books of Udo Ulfkotte, especially his latest book: “Journalists for hire”[10]  

Mighty Wurlitzer

The Mighty Wurlitzer, is a metaphor that CIA official Frank Wisner used to describe the Agency’s influence on public opinion via various front organizations. The book  The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America was written by Hugh Wilford.[11]

Another acronym to indicate the massive influence of the American intelligence organisations is: BLPM (Big Lie Propaganda Machine) an expression, coined by Jeff J. Brown.

Paul Craig Roberts of the Institute for Political Economy: As a former member of the major media prior to its concentration in few hands by the Clinton regime, has reported on many occasions that the Western media actually is a Ministry of Propaganda for Washington. Former CIA Director William Colby[12] one of the propagandists, confesses that “The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media.”

With such a massive media power, it is no wonder that a survey published in late July by the Pew Research Center showed that public opinion toward China has reached record lows in 24 countries, most prominently in the USA, Japan and Australia, not coincidentally the countries where the American media is most influential.[13]

Julian Assange said: “The overwhelming majority of information is classified to protect political security, not national security.”[14]  It doesn’t exist for our benefit; it exists for theirs. It’s so our rulers can keep doing depraved things with no accountability. That’s why they keep expanding government secrecy and increasing the punishment of those who breach it: because they want to do more depraved things and remain unaccountable.

Propaganda in China

China doesn’t need propaganda. The massive American propaganda machine, producing hundreds of narratives every day. Obviously all these negative views about China in the western media get also noticed in China. It is creating a strong nationalistic bond in the Chinese society.

China doesn’t need to
4. Call up emotions.
5. Strengthen the group feeling.
6. Create an enemy.
7. Make your own truth 
because all that is done by the western propaganda about China.  

Moreover: China and almost all Chinese politicians are STEM graduates, very, very few sociologists. Their way of thinking is “seek truth from facts”. It is very difficult to sell narratives to hard scientists.

Yes, in China, the CPC Communist Party China has a department, called the 中共中央宣传部 (Publicity Department of the Central Committee of the CPC). Interestingly: Google translates this as the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. In practice, observing the actions of that department, it is very similar to the public relations and marketing department of a big commercial corporation.  

My offer still stands: whoever can point me to a glimpse of propaganda in the Chinese media, I will pay a beer. Send me the link or a photo of a Chinese article containing propaganda (according to the generally recognized definition) and I will personally bring a top class beer to your home.

“Seek truth from facts” is an historic idiomatic expression, dating back to the Han dynasty 100 BCE. That same, Confucianist expression is common language in China and is recently frequently used in speeches in China’s foreign policy. After 1978 “Practice is the Sole Criterion for Testing the Truth” became a common Chinese idiom after the start of the Reform and Opening Up era.[15]

In China, there is no political correctness. Never been. One can publicly express the most blatant stories and say that in a quite confronting way. That too, is has its origins in Confucianism.[16]

China doesn’t need all that artificial reality.


[1] Edward Bernays, 1934

[2] Biography of an Idea: Memoirs of Public Relations Counsel Edward L. Bernays. By Edward L. Bernays. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965

[3] Biography of an Idea: Memoirs of Public Relations Counsel Edward L. Bernays. By Edward L. Bernays. (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1965

[4] Jaq James: What is CO-WEST-PRO ?

[5] Jaq James: Modern propaganda techniques.

[6] The Gold Train  is one of the many propaganda techniques, explored and described by Jaq James.

[7]   22.03.2022 Language is the essence of the People (in Dutch)

[10] Udo Ulfkotte: Gekaufte Journalisten. Wie Politiker, Geheimdienste und Hochfinanz Deutschlands Massenmedien lenken. Kopp, Rottenburg 2014, ISBN 978-3-86445-143-0.

[11] Hugh Wilford: The Mighty Wurlitzer   01.05.2009

[12] Paul Craig Roberts: “The CIA owns everyone of any significance in the major media.”

[13] PEW Research Center: “China’s Approach to Foreign Policy Gets Largely Negative Reviews in 24-Country Survey

[14] Cailin Johnstone at Strategic Culture

[15] Hu Fuming in an article ” Practice is the Sole Criterion for Testing the Truth ”  in the  Guangming Daily 11.05.1978

[16] Confucius Analects chapter “Zi Lu” 子路  about rectification of names.