‘Make Truth, Not Lies.’ How Russia and China Can Combat Fake News
List of speakers

Issues of mutual perception of the elites, media and societies of China and Russia were discussed at the fifth session of the Valdai Club’s Russian-Chinese conference. Experts pointed to the mutual influence of society and the media. Media can hardly affect society, if there is no request for this or that interpretation on its part. 

It was noted that the overwhelming majority of Russian media are friendly and positive toward China and Chinese society. According to Alexei Volin, Deputy Minister of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation, the influence of the West on the Russian media is shrinking, primarily as a result of the West’s awkward policy, rejecting its own principles and basics of journalism. 

Cinema is an important direction of cooperation, and social media are of particular importance. It is obvious that Russia and China need to create their own technological platforms of information content. As for the activities of the Western media, they, according to Sheng Shiliang, Senior Research Fellow at Xinhua News Agency’s Global Challenges Studies Center, “do not lie but fabricate the truth.” 

The repeated examples of how Western media make up stories about suppression of mass protests by the Chinese police, the poisoning of Skripal, the use of chemical weapons in Syria, lack any evidence. The problem is that the modern media space is dominated by the Anglo-Saxon discourse. The Chinese media do not have an opportunity to get information about Russia from independent sources. As a result, Chinese and Russian societies fell into the trap of the Western media. 

The Valdai Club expert Vasily Kashin, senior research fellow at the Centre for Comprehensive European and International Studies, Higher School of Economics, senior research fellow of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Far Eastern Studies, noted that Russia and China have established strong ties in the field of information exchange at the state level. Now significant strata of people have a system of personal contacts. However, this information exchange and contacts rarely goes beyond the limits of government and do not reach broader public. The number of publications about China and Russia is growing in the media, but they are often translated from Western sources. Often the media interpret information unprofessionally. 

A serious problem is that the amount of information is constantly growing, and it is poorly processed. The lack of business information remains an important obstacle for the presence of the two countries’ businesses in China or in Russia. 

In the conditions of simultaneous complication of relations with the West, China and Russia need to update the information exchange system, which should be of high quality and meet the modern requirements, said Yu Yunquan, Vice President of the Academy of Contemporary China and the External World.