China is once again trying to influence the media in Kuwait to improve its image and build closer affiliations with the Gulf region which is of higher strategic value to Beijing. However, Kuwaiti media, aware of the Chinese propaganda, is reluctant to play ball. The Chinese Embassy in Kuwait has hired a team of experts who are approaching Kuwaiti journalists to provide ground-level feedback about China, its economic policies, and its ongoing confrontation with the US on the Taiwan issue, The Singapore Post reported.

They have also been tasked to interview Kuwaiti officials, local experts, and scholars on a variety of issues, including the China Arab Cooperation Forum Framework, China-Kuwait bilateral relations, Sino-US tensions, and sentiments about China within the local intelligentsia.

Aware of the Chinese propaganda, Kuwaiti media is viewing it as `investigations` rather than surveys. Many journalists were reportedly reluctant to participate in any such exercise.

This is not the first time that China has tried to influence the media in Kuwait. Last year, China was globally condemned for bullying the Kuwait-based English daily Arab Times into deleting an already published interview with the Taiwan Minister of Foreign Affairs Joseph Wu, from its website.

Several Chinese propaganda news websites have also been publishing articles that mention Sino-Kuwait relations and various Chinese so-called development projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.

Incidentally, several Chinese media houses had established their offices in Indonesia to ease the local recruitment of journalists and to facilitate and amplify Chinese propaganda stories in the local language, The Singapore Post reported.

The sudden spurt of activities aimed at assessing China`s popularity was seen as a sign of nervousness concerning Beijing`s recent tensions with the US over the Taiwan issue. Inputs indicate that similar exercises may be conducted in other Middle Eastern countries as China attempts to build more allies in the region.

Beijing is leaving no stone unturned to build closer affiliations within the region, using its influence operations as one of the key tools, as the Gulf is of high strategic value to both China and the US, relevant to their energy security, and a site of geopolitical unrest.