Mexico

Vulnerable
Beijing’s Media Influence Efforts
Notable
35 85
Local Resilience & Response
Notable
34 85
Scores are based on a scale of 0 (least influence) to 85 (most influence)

header1 Key findings

Report by: Ellie Young and Anonymous

 

  • Growing footprint, limited impact: Beijing’s media footprint in Mexico has grown in recent years. However, despite its efforts to increase cooperation with local media partners—including through regional frameworks like the China- Latin America and the Caribbean Media Action initiative—its audience remains small.
  • Public opinions of China slightly dampened by pandemic: Public opinion polling showed that negative perceptions of China increased after the coronavirus pandemic began, though most respondents still expressed a positive opinion of the country and its influence in the region. Polling data from 2019 showed a positive correlation between Mexican respondents’ views towards China and the United States and support for increasing economic ties with both countries.
  • Strong state media presence: Chinese state television channels were locally available via satellite, cable, and free-to-air services during the coverage period of 2019–21. Print copies of the regional magazine China Hoy were distributed locally. The mainstream local outlet Reforma, which republished content from People’s Daily on its website, was one of the most significant sources of China-related news for local media consumers. Chinese diplomats frequently contributed to mainstream print outlets like El Financiero, Milenio, and El Universal.
  • Intensive social media engagement: The Chinese embassy is active on Twitter and Facebook and has a strong following among local audiences. The embassy mostly shares cultural content but has also promoted misleading narratives about Beijing’s human rights record and the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. Chinese state media journalists are also influential on social media, with one Facebook account having more than a million followers.
  • Media narratives promoted economic cooperation and solidarity amid pandemic: Chinese state media and diplomats promoted economic cooperation through the Belt and Road Initiative (although Mexico is not a member) and highlighted the importance of the two countries’ deepening relationship. Both China and Mexico were described as major developing countries with considerable influence that would mutually benefit from cooperation, according to Beijing’s preferred narrative. Chinese propaganda also highlighted bilateral cooperation to fight COVID-19, including the sale and joint production of vaccines.
  • Business and content distribution infrastructure investment: Chinese technology companies have a strong presence in Mexico. E-commerce companies such as Alibaba and Didi have invested in local digital-economy and digital-governance initiatives. The social media platform TikTok was one of the 10 most downloaded apps in Mexico during the coverage period, with local politicians and journalists using it to reach younger audiences. In addition to supplying equipment for Red Compartida, a wholesale wireless network developed by local telecommunications consortium Altán Redes, Huawei has also provided equipment for a major cable television provider. The state-owned China Telecom also holds a 3.2 percent stake in Red Compartida.
  • No disinformation campaigns: There was no evidence of disinformation campaigns attributed to Chinese actors that targeted or reached news consumers in Mexico.
  • Small diaspora consumes pro-Beijing content: The expatriate and diaspora population in Mexico is small, estimated to be around 10,000. Media content catering to this community was mostly produced by Chinese state media and pro-Beijing actors.
  • Strong legal framework and civil society: The Mexican legal system offers significant human rights guarantees, including freedom of expression and access to information. Civil society groups actively work to combat disinformation and protect press freedoms, providing an additional layer of resilience against Chinese Communist Party influence.
  • Media vulnerabilities: Mexico’s media sector faces broad challenges including: violent reprisals against journalists, political corruption, and funding challenges that limit local capacity to produce specialized China-related coverage. Scholars are working to fill an existing gap in local expertise on China, while international wire services supplement local coverage.

 

The full Mexico country report will be posted as soon as it becomes available. 

On Mexico

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  • Global Freedom Score

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  • Internet Freedom Score

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