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What Propaganda Says about China

In 2023, Georgia became a strategic partner of China. The parties published a statement on the establishment of relations on July 31, consisting of four parts: political, economic, people-to-people, and cultural relations, and the international dimension. Irakli Gharibashvili has been convincing us of the need to deepen cooperation with China since 2015. While waiting for the EU candidate status, the Prime Minister announced a partnership with the Communist People's Republic.

Gaining positive influence on China is achieved at the expense of spreading anti-Western messages. Local government propagandists claim that Asia seems to have accepted us sooner than Europe, focusing on ancient culture and modern technology.

Some of the sources spreading positive sentiments about China were members of Georgian political parties. Observations revealed that many anti-Western and pro-Russian content propagandists often propagate pro-China narratives as well.

Sources from Social Media

Out of the 61 pro-Chinese sources investigated on social media, 18 personal accounts, 4 Facebook groups, and 39 pages were found. The name and address of each can be found in the Facebook Sources file.

From the monitoring, it was determined that the Facebook pages "Patriots" and "Georgia First NEWS" most frequently spread pro-Chinese and anti-Western messages. The Georgian Times, SP News Agency Spaces, "People's Power," "Alt-News," and "European Socialists" portrayed China as a dream partner and the sole solution for Georgia. Pages like "Politicano Politikano" and "" published posts supporting the President of the People's Republic of China, stating that he surprised the world and is the global leader. In addition to Facebook pages, specific individuals were identified through monitoring, such as Beka Vardosanidze, a propagandist affiliated with Alt-Info. Vato Shakarashvili, a representative of the anti-Western force "Georgia First" close to the government, is another individual who, like Vardosanidze, actively disseminates messages supporting China and asserts that China, not the West, can assist Georgia in reunifying the country.

Monitoring has shown that these individuals primarily find their audience in various information dissemination groups. Consequently, posts are frequently shared in numerous Facebook groups, such as "Global Politics," "PUBLICIST.GE - Global Politics," and "Konstantine Chikviladze - Information Group."

What Messages Should Reach the People

As a result of the monitoring, four main narratives were identified, which are actively disseminated by the above-mentioned sources:

  • China Will Help Us to Reclaim the Occupied Territories: - The propaganda asserts that, as a powerful influence, China has the capability to sway Russia and assist in the reunification of our country. It claims that the West, displaying disdain toward Russia, merely acknowledges the territorial integrity of Georgia verbally to avoid confrontation. In reality, the West either does not or cannot actively contribute to restoring Georgia's territorial integrity. Consequently, the narrative suggests that Georgia should shift its focus toward China for the country's integration. According to the propaganda, directing attention to China amid the competition between the West and China will prompt the West to take notice of Georgia. It contends that the West, incapable of working on Georgia's unification, is attempting to highlight the benefits of recognizing the de facto lost territories as de jure lost. The propaganda suggests that this approach could lead to the removal of the "occupied territories" burden from Georgia.

  • America's War vs China's Peace - China has not invaded a sovereign country or destroyed it with bombs, unlike the USA. The United States, with 5% of the world's population, consumes 80% of the world's drugs, indicating that the USA and its culture are harmful. According to the narrative, only a strong leader like the Chinese president can save the USA, which is described as "going to hell." Establishing relations with China is seen as a way to balance the significant pressure exerted by the USA on Georgia.

  • Pro-Chinese-Pro-Russian: China is seen as one of the balancing power centers alongside Russia in contrast to the Anglo-Saxon geopolitical power centers. The narrative suggests that together, China and Russia will overcome the dominance of the dollar and dollar hegemony worldwide.

  • Political Know-how and Opposition - Discrediting the Non-Governmental Sector: Propagandists view the Georgian government's alignment with China as a new strategic partner as a political masterstroke. They argue that this move signifies the government of Georgia breaking away from feudal relations by forming an alliance with China, asserting independence. According to them, many leaders aspire to appear on Chinese television, reaching an audience of one and a half billion, and occupying the position of Irakli Gharibashvili. Additionally, within this narrative, messages emphasize that ties with China are crucial levers for Georgia's economic strength, which, in turn, determines the country's degree of independence. Simultaneously, along with the dissemination of positive information about China, there is an active effort to discredit the opposition and non-governmental organizations within the same context. For example: "Pseudo-liberals were shouting, and Westerners were talking" [regarding the strategic partnership between Georgia and China]. Furthermore, the message is actively spread that the successful hosting of the Prime Minister's delegation in China signifies the appreciation of the Georgian people.

Who talks about China the most

Representatives of political parties have also actively participated in disseminating positive news or opinions about China on Facebook. Among them are members of the "Georgian Dream," "People's Power," "European Socialists," and the "Alt-Info Conservative Movement."

  • Vato Shakarashvili, the founder of the "Georgian First" movement, is notable for promoting pro-Chinese and anti-Western sentiments through his Facebook posts. In a Facebook status on July 29, he asserts that Georgia's survival, through a strategic partnership with China, hinges on the balance of interests rather than 30 years of standing at the EU's open door with one foot. In the same text, he labels those skeptical of the partnership with China as agents, citing individuals such as Tina Khidasheli, the head of "Civil Idea," and Davit Usupashvili, one of the leaders of the opposition party "Lelo," who publicly express concerns about the dangers of relations with China. Shakarashvili accuses them of intentionally sabotaging the policy of non-recognition and writes, "Are you acting on the orders of the Americans and bringing speakers from Taiwan to the anti-Chinese conference?! You are deliberately sabotaging the policy of non-recognition!!!" He considers spreading anti-Chinese messages as treason. The founder of the "Conservative Movement," Vato Shakarashvili, believes that China can yield tangible results in the issue of Georgia's reunification. In his October 6 Facebook status, Shakarashvili disseminates anti-Western and pro-Chinese information with a manipulative context, asserting that China does not impose 12-point conditions, does not interfere in the country's political affairs, is not interested in electoral barriers, and does not finance LGBT prides, unlike the European Union.

  • Luka Ekhvaia, a senior researcher at CIPRF, published a video on Facebook on August 3, in which he discusses China's grand reception for Irakli Gharibashvili. Ekhvaia views the relationship with the new partner as a significant geopolitical maneuver and dismisses those who label this move as dangerous, referring to them as spreaders of panic. Propaganda sources have disseminated this message, likely intending to marginalize critical and alternative opinions about the strategic partnership with China and those advocating them.

  • Zurab Kadagidze, a member of "People's Power," is an avid supporter of China-Georgia relations. His Facebook statuses, akin to those of other propagandists, carry an anti-Western and pro-Chinese context. On July 28, he shared photos on his social network featuring Tina Khidasheli and former US senator Adam Kissinger, seemingly criticizing relations with China. Similar to Shakarashvili, Kadagidze perceives criticism of China as a new partner as a personal insult. He comments on Khidasheli: "What is the motive of this 'Enjeoshnitsa' and such a primitive response to a non-public document?". According to the member of "People's Power," Gharibashvili will play a significant role in the strategic partnership between Georgia and China.

Where Is the Real Danger

BMG has entered into a memorandum of understanding and licensing agreement with China's largest media group, CCTV. CCTV is a significant entity within the Chinese Communist Party's propaganda network. To assess the potential impact of the collaboration between these two media entities on the Georgian media market, we sought the perspective of Tinatin Khidasheli, Chairman of the non-governmental organization "Samokalo Idea." This organization focuses on studying China's influence in post-Soviet countries and actively discusses potential threats to the strategic partnership between China and Georgia. According to Khidasheli, the relationship with BMG is advantageous for China, as other Chinese companies have experienced reputational damage in our country, while BMG maintains a high standing in business circles.

It is essential to note that CCTV is not an independent media outlet and disseminates information in alignment with censorship. Consequently, Khidasheli deems CCTV an undesirable entity in democratic states due to its role as a tool of direct propaganda with a specific political agenda. In some countries' media markets, CCTV is even blocked, similar to Russia Today.

A Chinese citizen, sharing insights with us, highlights that there is no independent media in China, as it operates as part of the government's propaganda machinery. According to this source, the goal of Chinese government media is to convince citizens of the chaotic and dangerous nature of the Western world. In China, independent journalism is nonexistent, and one can engage in journalistic activities only after obtaining a special certificate.

While it was previously suggested that China's propaganda was soft, unlike Russia's, contemporary experts no longer share this view. China's propaganda now aims to promote a positive image, as outlined in the documents of the Congress of the Communist Party of China. Presently, the Chinese state is not solely focused on self-establishment but is actively challenging the world order with a specific ideology.

In the past, China commissioned charming programs in various countries to disseminate their propaganda, focusing on ancient culture and cuisine. However, recent developments, exemplified by our observations in Georgia, indicate a shift. When examining pro-Chinese narratives, we find both anti-Western messages and propaganda programs about Chinese culture in Georgia today.

China-Georgia Relationship in Facebook Ads

  • The Government of Georgia ran 13 ads on its official Facebook page from July 26 to July 31, with expenditures ranging between $3,700 and $5,185. This amount is twice the expenditure for advertising posts related to the Prime Minister's visit to the United Nations. During September 18-22, the Prime Minister delivered a speech at the 78th Assembly of the United Nations General Assembly and engaged with various international figures, including the presidents of Estonia and the Czech Republic, the adviser to the President of the United States on matters of national security, the president of the European Council Charles Michel, and the Secretary General of the United Nations Antonio Gutierrez. In total, 12 advertisements were distributed on Facebook to disseminate information about these events, incurring a total cost of $1,500 to $2,688.

It is noteworthy that following the visit to China, the official page of the Georgian government sponsored information about the introduction of visa-free traffic for Chinese citizens, incurring an additional expense of $200 to $299.

Prime Minister of Georgia Irakli Gharibashvili also attended the opening event of the European Political Union (EPC) plenary session. The official Facebook page of the Government of Georgia advertised two posts about the EPC opening event, with expenses ranging from $300 to $500. Comparing how the Georgian government conducts its strategic communications in terms of international relations and what it prioritizes in terms of expenditures can provide insights into the government's priorities.

  • Georgia First: Georgia First is the official page of the conservative association founded by Vato Shakarashvili, actively disseminating anti-Western and pro-Chinese narratives. Before entering into strategic cooperation, the Facebook page primarily shared information related to China in the context of the war in Ukraine. It often portrayed the U.S. as a state of war and China as a state of peace, claiming that "China has set a great trap for the U.S. and Europe with its peace plan." Following the signing of the strategic cooperation, the page increased the frequency of information dissemination regarding China-Georgia relations. For instance, the page sponsored a video featuring its leader, Vato Shakarashvili, from a briefing where he emphasizes that the concept of Georgia's integration lies in the balance of interests, which includes a strategic partnership with China, rather than in obedience to any single power.

  • "Ar Agarevinebt": This page is a continuation of the Facebook page that was blocked after the ISFED report. The report suggests that "Ar Agarevinebt" is part of a network coordinated by the "unknown" figure, also known as Gia Gachechiladze, operating in favor of the government and serving anti-Western propaganda. Presently, this page, in addition to making anti-Western and discriminatory statements against the opposition, promotes a post supporting the Prime Minister's initiation of strategic cooperation with China. This particular post has garnered 1.8 thousand interactions on Facebook.

In addition, the Ad Library includes sponsored posts about China by Postv and POS TV, represented across three distinct Facebook pages: Postv Analytics, Postv News, and POS TV, sponsors a card and a video depicting Irakli Gharibashvili's meeting with President Xi Jinping of the People's Republic of China. Additionally, advertises a quote from Sidzipin and his image card, focusing on a new level of strategic cooperation and relations between Georgia and China.

Discussion of Propaganda Programs

We have identified three main propaganda media outlets on social networks that disseminate the pro-Chinese narrative. In all three outlets, guests engage in discussions with the hosts, highlighting China's advantages while simultaneously conveying anti-Western messages.

TV company Obiektivi

The TV company "Obiektivi" is the sole television station that has dedicated programs to Xi Jinping. The channel is characterized by the dissemination of pro-Russian and anti-Western content, and it is associated with the pro-Russian party "Patriot Alliance." On September 27, Badri Nachkebia enthusiastically informed us about the collaborative initiative between the Chinese Embassy and their television. The "Cycle of Programs on China" has been broadcast five times to date. The reports feature Chinese-Russian subtitles but are voiced in Georgian. The content primarily focuses on the biography of the country's leader and his wise sayings. In the first broadcast, the host of the program invited the plenipotentiary ambassador of China to Georgia, Chou Qian, as a guest. During the visit, the ambassador expressed hope that through this television program, Georgian viewers would gain a better understanding of their country's development, the "One Belt - One Road" initiative, and that the public would foster more confidence and desire for China-Georgian relations and a shared future.

Radio Georgian Times

"Real Politics - with Malkhaz Gulashvili" is one of the programs that discusses the profitability of relations with China, featuring invited guests. On August 14, Davit Giorkhelidze, referred to as an economic expert, stated that the Chinese do not pursue an aggressive policy anywhere, unlike America and Russia. However, this statement by Giorkhelidze is not entirely accurate, as he may have overlooked the tense relations with Taiwan and India. The programs on Radio Georgian Times convey a positive sentiment about China, citing examples such as the unveiling of Shota Rustaveli's bust in China and highlighting the diligent work of the Chinese, which, according to the program, has captivated Europe. The presenter, Malkhaz Gulashvili, exhibits an emotionally positive attitude towards China, which is not surprising given his personal connection to the country. He mentioned in the program that he has visited China eleven times, knows all the members of the Politburo, met Xi Jinping twice, and on September 26, he was invited to the Xinhua Agency, where he established an information platform with thirty-eight countries and holds the position of vice president. Additionally, "Georgian Times" organized a conference in June 2021 with the support of the Chinese Embassy on the topic: "Let's share positive experiences with each other and create a better future together," dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese ambassador to Georgia, Li Yen, was an active guest on Gulashvili's program, and now Chou Tsien appears as his guest.

Season TV

"Irakli Gharibashvili arrived in China. How can you not view this positively, considering China is a mega-state..." - with these words, Nikoloz Tshavanadze evaluated the Prime Minister's visit to Chengdu. In his opinion, the survival and prosperity of Georgia depend on Chinese investments.

Nikoloz Khavanadze is an active disseminator of Russian propaganda and anti-Western disinformation in Georgia. For instance, he tells the audience that America is starving and isolating Georgia from economically beneficial countries. Zhavanadze assures the listeners that the Chinese will open enterprises in Georgia, providing employment for locals. Subsequently, he compares this positively with the West, suggesting that the Chinese will establish new enterprises in Georgia with better working conditions for locals compared to Europe. The presenter's monologue lasts for 10 minutes, and the video has garnered 47,000 views, 1,900 reactions, and 450 comments.

July 31 in Georgian TV Media

On July 31, the signing of the strategic partnership with China by Irakli Gharibashvili received varying coverage in the central TV media of Georgia. "Rustavi 2" and "Imedi" dedicated the most time during their news broadcasts, while "Main Channel" and "Formula" allocated the least time. In the programs of "Rustavi 2," "Imedi," and Public Broadcasting, this topic held the top position, whereas in the case of the Main Channel and Formula, it was placed seventh and sixth, respectively. This observed difference aligns with the editorial policy of these media outlets, indicating their pro- or anti-government stance.

Apart from the ruling party, members of "People's Force" were prominently featured on pro-government channels, where they juxtaposed America and China in relation to Georgia. It was asserted that since 2017, the American president has not met any prime minister, and the USA has not shown any desire. In contrast, even the highest officials of China welcomed Irakli Gharibashvili with dignity, and this approach was deemed worthy of appreciation. In opposition media, specifically on the "Main Channel," the same topic received critical coverage under the title: "Hidden Goals of Gharibashvili's Visit to China," where assessments were provided by the US ambassador and experts. On the "Main Channel" news broadcasts, preceding the coverage of the China topic, there were reports on the Russian cruise ship in Batumi and the individuals detained during the protest against it.


Pro-Russian and anti-Western propaganda in Georgia has found support from pro-China elements. The activity of propagandists in Chengdu commenced with Gharibashvili's visit in July. Traditional and social media platforms began shaping China's image as a reliable country. Throughout the research, we delved into and observed primary sources of pro-Chinese narratives, investigating the advertising costs associated with posts about Gharibashvili's Chengdu visit and examining their distribution areas. With the assistance of Mediaspeech, we transcribed discussions from propaganda broadcasts, uncovering anti-dsavalipro-Chinese narratives. For instance, in the "Sezoni TV" program, Nikoloz Tshavanadze expresses, "You [the USA] are starving this country to death, and we are forbidden to have [relationships] with anyone with whom we can have economic benefits."

The quest for positive influence on China involves the dissemination of anti-Western messages. A recurring tactic of propagandists is to shape the narrative that Asia extended a helping hand sooner than Europe. Individuals supportive of China, labeled as economists or experts, assert from the screen that the prosperity of Georgia hinges on a new strategic partner.

The research process has reaffirmed the significant role of propaganda messages in shaping public opinion. Just three years ago, during the pandemic, xenophobic sentiments towards China and the Chinese were prevalent. Social media users used inappropriate language to refer to the Chinese, viewing them as the culprits in the virus's spread. Today, there has been a radical shift in perception, and the dissemination of pro-Chinese messages has yielded positive results. In people's minds, China is now being perceived as a country with an ancient civilization, hardworking, and friendly towards Georgia.

The research work has identified sources actively supporting the Georgia-China strategic partnership and disseminating contexts containing misinformation. This paper aims to assist novice researchers in navigating the research process more efficiently.


To identify pro-Chinese narratives, we used the IBEX monitoring tool. With its assistance, we conducted a search for all public posts on Facebook containing keywords related to China. Subsequently, we identified 61 main sources, namely Facebook pages that disseminate pro-Chinese narratives. Following this, we categorized each post into primary narratives.

Utilizing the Mediaspeech tool, we transcribed programs that were distributed in fragments across social networks and media from July 15 to October 25, aiming to propagate positive sentiments about China. Through content analysis, we examined the main guests of these programs and their on-air discussions. Three key programs actively discussing the advantages of China-Georgia relations were singled out. Additionally, during the telemedia monitoring on July 31, we selected five central television stations: Rustavi 2, Imedi, Public Broadcaster, Main Channel, and Formula. The quantitative research analysis demonstrated the amount of time dedicated by our selected television news outlets to covering the process of signing a strategic relationship with China.



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