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Misinformation and more misinformation

August 25, 2023 — BarryK

I make the occasional political comment in posts in the "ethos" category of this blog. This current post is about misinformation on YouTube. I want to remain as politically neutral as possible, just present the issues that I have recently experienced, and leave it open for the reader to draw conclusions.

I've taken to watching YouTube videos quite a lot recently, often browse looking at interesting topics. Got interested in China; in particular, what is life like inside China, as opposed to the impression we get from Western media.

I started watching some videos, and soon realised the sole purpose of those channels is to bash China. I wondered what their hidden agenda is; I read comments that they are backed by right-wing and religious elements. One China-bashing YouTube channel was mentioned as backed by the Falun Gong, a religious sect banned in China.

One channel that I watched, the guy has 1.37 million subscribers, but some things he said, I thought that doesn't seem quite correct. I began to suspect that facts were being deliberately distorted, pandering to a certain audience. For example, this post claiming BYD and other Chinese car manufacturers were collecting government subsidies to manufacture electric vehicles, but then just dumping them as unable to sell them:

"China is throwing away fields of electric cars - letting them rot!"


"The Electric Viking", an Aussie guy, responded to that, with a contrary viewpoint:

"China and BYD are throwing away fields of electric cars, letting them rot"

Then I stumbled across a post from a foreign guy in China who actually went to the dump-site shown in the above photo:

"Chinese EV graveyards - uncovering the truth in person at one of these controversial sites"

There is a propaganda war going on, not just between the USA and China. It is broader than that. Another example that comes to mind; I watched on the news on TV, a Chinese Navy ship water-bombing the sailors on a Philippines ship (those sailors were trying to deliver supplies to Philippine soldiers based on a sunken ship). So of course we see that and think the Chinese are being the bad guys again. However, I stumbled upon a video that explained the history behind that incident:

"Another dispute in the SCS - here's what is really happening" this completely true? Is there another perspective?

I got interested in finding out what is really going on in China; how is life day-to-day for ordinary citizens? So started watching video channels by foreigners living in China. Most of them are working there, some are tourists, some are teachers -- my guess is that most of the latter are English teachers. Here is a collection of these channels, in no particular order:

This is interesting, as Sabrina is black and a Christian and she attended church in China:

Throwing this one in; another church:

Which reminds me, there was one fascinating video, a guy toured around in Tibet, visited monasteries and saw the daily life of the monks. Can't find that link now.

There are also fascinating videos taken in Muslim regions of China.

These guys are tourists in China. They also visit other countries:

"Jerry's take on China" channel, already mentioned.

Cyrus Janssen is a very interesting guy. He visited China recently, returning after the pandemic, but I think he is currently in the US.

Are any of these people in the pay of the Chinese government? There is one guy who is so over-the-top pro-China that if I had to bet on it, I would say yes. Also, if I had to bet on it, I would say that most of the others are not. But of course, living in China, there are strict rules, things that you cannot criticize.

Another thing that must not be forgotten is that we are able to view these inside-China channels on YouTube; you won't be seeing videos critical of China in the Chinese YouTube-equivalent (YouTube itself is banned).

But these posts do give me a view into daily life within China, and it certainly is very interesting, enlightening even, to see things from the inside perspective.

EDIT 2023-08-26:
Here are more channels of foreigners living in China:

Posts about Muslims in China:

Interesting analysis of the Muslim Uyghur situation:

Posts about Tibet:

That's enough. I make a "political post" every six months to a year, so don't expect another one for at least another six months.         

Tags: ethos