Just imagine a video of Chinese authorities brutally assaulting and arresting Chinese citizens who have a credit rating below certain criteria, appearing on Sina Weibo. In no time this video would be viral on WeChat, DouBan, YouKu, and several other Chinese social media platforms. By the time the Chinese authorities would react, the damage has already been done. The video was a deep fake, inserted by the Indian agencies. India and many other countries have declared a non-kinetic war on China.
Most of the time when the word ‘war’ pops up in any conversation, everyone visualizes fighter planes buzzing past, guns blazing, missiles being fired, and soldiers penetrating enemy territory. However, this is a forever war, without a beginning or an end. It is called ‘asymmetric warfare’.
So what is asymmetric warfare? It is a war, without fighting a war. It is fought best when opposing forces are not even aware that they are involved in such a war. This war helps to control citizens’ thought processes, mold them, and at times alter them to one’s requirements.
The present era is called the ‘Information Age’ for nothing. Every aspect of this war is information dependent. That means anyone who controls information, controls the world. China understood that fact a long time ago. They also recognized that the internet and the devices connecting human beings with the internet would be key to information or disinformation. No wonder, today China is the biggest manufacturer of mobile phones, laptops, and routers in the world. Welcome to the era of asymmetric warfare.
This warfare consists of nuclear, chemical, biological, economic, information operations, operational concepts, terrorism, etc. However, India should consider only
Despite the fact, China has taken a lead in this sphere, India and other like-minded countries should initiate it immediately, if not already done. The first step in that direction would be to control the Chinese cognitive process. Cognitive psychology is the field of psychology that investigates people’s thinking, knowing, remembering, judging, and problem-solving.
The Chinese Chairman Mao once spoke about the Chinese people, “China’s 600 million people have two remarkable peculiarities; they are, first of all, poor, and secondly blank. That may seem like a bad thing, but it is really a good thing. Poor people want change, want to do things, want a revolution. A clean sheet of paper has no blotches, and so the newest and most beautiful words can be written on it.” This indicates that Mao had understood the importance of controlling the cognitive process. The first asymmetric war China had fought was against its own people.
Where to Begin
To insulate the Chinese populace from these offensives from India and any other nation, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has taken measures. Today Chinese citizens read, write and think what CCP wants them to do. In my article I had explained in-depth the following concepts of ‘how China controls internet within China’ using the following measures:
Courtesy: CitizenLab Canada
India and like-minded countries have to penetrate this security system to reach the Chinese citizens. In addition to that, Chinese diplomats, students, tourists, and businessmen abroad would be the right people to target and carry the message home. As Mao had said, a clean sheet has to be created to write beautiful things that we want them to think and perceive.
A collective psychological attack should be initiated to alter the cognitive thinking of CCP, People Liberation Army (PLA) and Chinese citizens using:
The whole game would be played at a very large scale using every mean available in the manual of information warfare. Though Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang would be kept on boil, but as I always say target the strength of the Chinese system and Han supremacy. If the Chinese strengths are subdued, the weaker areas would just follow through.
Deeper Psychological Attack
India would need to attack the Chinese conscious and subconscious mind using all means. The specialists will have to understand the Chinese feelings, memories, speech, motivations, emotions, and needs using every means of technology at their disposal.
Externally PLA soldiers and diplomats should be targeted at physical level with the use of light waves, electromagnetic waves, and microwaves. This would cause them psychological damage, confusion, and hallucinations. While India is using these techniques against China, it must also safeguard its soldiers and diplomats against such attacks from China.
A technique I call ‘Slow Boiling’ is very useful in subconsciously altering cognitive thinking. For example if one puts a frog in hot water, the frog would jump out instantaneously and get away with just a few burns. On the contrary, if one puts a frog in cold water and puts that water on a very slow heat, the frog would boil to death without realizing.
This technique is to be used against adversary population by injecting completely new content in their social media or altering the existing narrative by subtly injecting own narrative here and there, keeping major part intact.
Readers may recollect many articles in Indian and international publications or ‘social media forwards’, that have been planted to change the narrative. These articles and messages had sole purpose of demoralizing Indians and creating doubts in their minds about country’s military or civilian leadership. Anti-CAA protests, farmers’ protests, Black Lives Matter (BLM), or storming of Capitol Hill have clear-cut signs of Chinese meddling.
China has also heavily invested in Indian vernacular media. They churn out huge anti-India propaganda which goes unnoticed. A large number of respectable journalists could also be on the Chinese payroll, making the Chinese task very easy. Time has come to pay back China and its vassal states in the same coin. However, while using all these techniques government of the day has to insulate Indian citizens from such attacks.
Manufacture Reality for Complete Chaos
Humans not only respond to the objective features of their circumstances but also to their own subjective understandings of those situations, even when these beliefs are factually incorrect. Other shortcomings include human beings’ willingness to believe information that is not true and a tendency to be as easily exploited by emotional appeals as demonstrated by fake news from across the world.
Despite such a hollow past, for many Chinese, the ‘century of humiliation’ started with the First Opium War (1840-1842) and lasted until 1949 when the People’s Republic of China was founded. This fake narrative and manipulated historical myth have to be busted. The Chinese populace has been manipulated by CCP in two ways. Firstly, they were fed this fake narrative that CCP ended the century of humiliation, and secondly how great and powerful China was before 1840. The fact is that China has been ruled by foreigners through out the last 1500 years. Liao, Jin, Xia, Yuan and Qing dynasties were non-Chinese and they decimated Chinese dynasties.
During the cultural revolution, Mao and his cronies destroyed whatever Chinese heritage existed in the country. China was left without any identity. Most of the iconic sites, barring the Great Wall and Forbidden City, are fake and have been recreated. Some have been created after the death of Mao and some during Xi Jinping’s reign. Since Chinese citizens want to connect with their heritage, they believe in the fake monuments and recreated history. Exposing these false narratives would be highly demoralizing for the Chinese populace.
Similarly, breaking the myth of Chinese historical figures and heroes would deal another blow to the Chinese esteem. Figures like Mao, Mulan, and Comrade Lei Feng should be exposed. Chinese people should also be made to realize that their forefathers have heavily borrowed from Indian scriptures like Ramayana. They have also borrowed Indian Gods and Goddesses to fulfill what was lacking in their culture. Chinese Goddess Jiuntian Xuanni is based on Indian Goddess Durga, Tian Shang Ti on Lord Indra, Goddess Mazu on Goddess Ganga, Tai Yang Xing Jun on Surya Deva, Mother Houtu on Dharti Maa, Gongong on Lord Varun, and Sun Wukong on Lord Hanuman. The list is endless to make the Chinese realize how hollow and fake their history has been.
In addition to fake history, current China is not free of social issues and they are ready to be exploited. Indian government along with other willing nations should make a concerted effort to create that reality or enhance the social issues. Machines using artificial intelligence algorithms can be taught to exploit these flaws. They are more effective than humans. They identify which content works and which does not on millions of people at high speed, repeatedly, until the targeted human beings react as desired.
All is Fair in War
The sole aim of Indian agencies should be complete mayhem in China. That can be achieved using disinformation and deep fakes. These strategies would require teamwork between adversary and important local players. Audio-visual technology should be explored to imitate the voice of the Chinese leaders and PLA Commanders to mislead the adversary’s decision-makers into wrong decisions. These techniques should also be used to discredit leaders and PLA commanders. Every Chinese citizen, be it businessman, student, diplomat, or tourist, stepping out of China should be an easy target for such campaigns.
Today China faces shortages of food, power, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, plummeting growth rate, environmental disasters, and irrational aggression in addition to millions of demonstrations against draconian policies and ruthless government officials. New realities can be weaved around these existing issues or altogether new realities can be created that resonate with Chinese dreams and desires.
Data is The New Oil
A very important component to fulfill all the strategies is ‘Data’. People have heard the term ‘data is the new oil’, number of times, but very few understand it’s importance. China producing cheap products was a double-edged sword. Firstly, it killed industries in most of the countries and secondly, it presented a treasure trove of buyers’ data to the Chinese authorities.
The Chinese authorities weaponized this data against the same people who were using the Chinese products. They knew their shopping and eating habits, thought process, worries, and concerns. Then came the mobile devices revolution. China flooded the markets with cheap handheld devices and Internet-of-Things (IoT). This dominance opened the new floodgates of data.
The Chinese government has also arm-twisted companies of international repute like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Bloomberg, and LinkedIn to hand over data for further exploitation. Most of these companies have left China for good, however, China still dominates the mobile devices segment. A worrisome fact is that eighty percent of mobile phones, routers, and laptops used in India are still made in China.
The dependence on Chinese technology is a real threat and this has to be reversed if government wants to insulate Indian forces and citizens from Chinese attacks. Governments from across the world have to bring about the changes before it is too late. The first step in that direction would be shunning the Chinese devices. It should be mandated that government agencies and government functionaries completely get rid of Chinese devices.
If at any time policymakers get paralyzed, since they might find these techniques too drastic or extreme, they have to remind themselves of ‘Prithvi Raj Chauhan Syndrome’. A very capable and brave King Prithvi Raj, defeated but pardoned Mahmud of Ghazni and thus changed the course of Indian history. Time has come to adopt the offensive policies of Lalitaditya Muktapida, the legendary Kashmiri king whose empire extended up to Central Asia. And if there is still some doubt left then they should remind themselves of, who was behind 5 million deaths the world over due to Covid-19, and the deaths of Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley.
There is nothing unfair in war, and the impact and ruthlessness of implementation of such policies should be double when the adversary is China.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of Chanakya Forum. All information provided in this article including timeliness, completeness, accuracy, suitability or validity of information referenced therein, is the sole responsibility of the author. www.chanakyaforum.com does not assume any responsibility for the same.
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