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PAPERWALL: Chinese information operation targets Belgium and Luxembourg


In February 2024, CitizenLab unveiled an information operation named “PAPERWALL”. This Chinese-originated influence operation has built a network of 123 dummy media outlets worldwide, with a strong presence in Europe. The exposed assets included a Belgian and a Luxembourg website.

These sites, appearing legitimate to an average internet user, presented plagiarised content in local languages and English, often promoting Chinese interests. Closer look reveals that they don’t offer original content, nor display ads, and lack journalist contact details, suggesting their primary role is not ad revenue generation. Further, English content on these sites blatantly supports Chinese interests, underlining a strategy of multiple occurrences of the same content across various sites, likely for enhanced search engine visibility.

The operation’s connection to the broader network, such as TimesNewswire, and similarities with past Chinese information operations suggest a systematic approach to influence and disinformation. The discovery of PAPERWALL aligns with previous exposures of similar Chinese operations, highlighting ongoing efforts in disinformation attributed to Chinese sources.

Read the full investigation here.