Search for Sheng Xue on Google in English and you will find the story of an award-winning writer who left China for Canada after the Tiananmen Square uprising and became one of the world’s leading advocates for Chinese democracy.
But that same search in Chinese comes up with a very different portrait: Sheng Xue is a fraud, a thief, a traitor and a serial philanderer. Want proof? It offers up salacious photos, like one seeming to show her kissing a man who is not her husband.
As China extends its influence around the globe, it has mastered the art of soft power, establishing Confucius Institutes on Western college campuses and funding ports and power plants in developing countries.
But building up is only one prong of the Chinese strategy. The other is knocking down. And few know this better than Sheng Xue.