Links for Thursday, June 25, 2020

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In the past, that good China story would have been told through clumsy Communist party propaganda broadcast on its state-run news outlets. But during our research for the International Federation of Journalists, we found that Beijing is increasingly outsourcing the storytelling to foreign journalists, who often end up amplifying its messages in their own languages in the pages of their own news outlets.

One of the most powerful ways for the U.S. to succeed in its growing competition with the Communist party is to convince Chinese citizens that free and democratic systems really are better than authoritarian ones. But with his autocratic tendencies, attempts to muzzle the press, hiring of his children for top government roles and calls for the army to crush demonstrators, Mr Trump has made it easy for propagandists to portray the U.S. system as equivalent to China’s.

Last year, the world’s fifth least-developed country, Burundi, inaugurated a $22 million presidential palace. In Zimbabwe, whose economy the World Bank believes contracted by nearly 8 percent last year, a six-story, $100 million parliament building is nearing completion. The Liberian government, which oversees the world’s ninth least-developed country, is adding two new annexes to its capitol building and a new ministerial complex. The $66 million combined cost of the project equals more than 2 percent of Liberia’s estimated 2019 GDP.

All of the buildings — and many more across the continent — were gifts from the Chinese government.

SOCIETY AND CULTURE: