FerMuBe is Fernando Munoz Bernal, one of the foreign legion of Youtubers defending China

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Fernando Munoz Bernal, is a Colombian English teacher in southern China’s Dongguan and the owner of the “FerMuBe” channel.

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Beijing (AFP) –

With YouTube videos “debunking” allegations of human rights abuses and diatribes on Western “conspiracies” against China, an unlikely set of foreigners are loudly defending Beijing from its international critics.

They are teachers and business owners from Britain, Colombia and Singapore, a collage of YouTubers garnering fame for their video takedowns of what they say are unfair accusations against Beijing.

Videos alternate between praise of China’s rapid development and rebuttals of negative foreign reports about the country.

Experts say they are being deployed as a weapon in the information war against China’s critics, with hundreds of videos reaching millions of viewers.

“I am trying to reach the people that have been brainwashed,” Fernando Munoz Bernal, a Colombian English teacher in southern China’s Dongguan and the owner of the “FerMuBe” channel, told AFP.

Bernal, who came to China in 2000 and has nearly 30,000 YouTube followers and 18,000 subscribers on the Chinese platform Bilibili, was among the vloggers who rebutted allegations of human rights abuses in Xinjiang this year.

In an April video, he accused foreign media of distorted reporting on Xinjiang and defended local businesses’ reluctance to speak to correspondents against “whatever lies and rumours journalists concoct”.

Western media seek to deflect from problems in their parts of the world by “creating enemies out of thin air” in China, he told AFP.

He is not alone.
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Bernal, who speaks some Chinese, said he was motivated by fear of a conflict between China and the West sparked by what he calls a “disinformation campaign” against Beijing.

“If there is a war, it’s my life at risk,” he told AFP.

YouTube is inaccessible inside China without special VPN software.

Yet like the other YouTubers, Bernal’s subtitled videos get a warm reception on Chinese social media platforms including Bilibili, while state media frequently republishes their content and features the vloggers online.

The same media often rips into unfavourable reporting by accredited foreign journalists.

“Where possible, the propaganda system is bound to integrate them into their own propaganda efforts,” Florian Schneider, politics researcher and director of the Leiden Asia Centre, told AFP.

Bernal said he and other YouTubers shared “opportunities to collaborate with state media” but insisted he was not a propagandist for China’s Communist Party.

His videos have featured tours sponsored by the government-run China Radio International, where he interviews other YouTubers about criticisms of China and explores rural development projects.

In one video, he slams the 2019 pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong as “terrorism” and suggests the United States was attempting to provoke a war with China by supporting the movement, while referencing 9/11 conspiracy theories.

https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20210912-the-foreign-legion-of-youtubers-defending-china

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