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China’s Influence On Political Elites In Estonia

August 25th, 2021 17:04

The Inter­na­tion­al Cen­tre for Defence and Secu­ri­ty (ICDS), an Eston­ian think tank, report­ed last year about China’s influ­ence activ­i­ties in Esto­nia, exam­in­ing the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party’s rela­tions with polit­i­cal elites in the coun­try. Accord­ing to the ICDS report:

Sep­tem­ber 2020 The ILD [the CCP’s Inter­na­tion­al Liai­son Depart­ment, ed.] estab­lished rela­tions with the Eston­ian Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (SDE) in Decem­ber 2008. […] In April 2009, ILD Vice Min­is­ter Chen Fengx­i­ang 陈凤翔 met with the Speak­er of the Riigikogu, the Eston­ian for­eign min­is­ter and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the SDE and the Cen­tre Par­ty in Tallinn. In Decem­ber the same year, an SDE del­e­ga­tion led by the party’s Deputy Leader, Indrek Saar, paid a return vis­it to Chi­na, where they met the Polit­buro mem­ber and Vice Chair­man of the Chi­nese People’s Polit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence, Wang Gang 王刚, and the ILD Min­is­ter, Wang Jiarui, and Vice Min­is­ter Liu Hong­cai 刘洪才. […]

In addi­tion to bilat­er­al meet­ings, the ILD organ­is­es forums for for­eign polit­i­cal par­ties, where, besides estab­lish­ing rela­tions, it can present the CCP’s poli­cies and gov­er­nance prin­ci­ples in order to cre­ate a pos­i­tive inter­na­tion­al image of the Par­ty. […] In May 2010, rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Eston­ian Reform Par­ty and the Pro Patria and Res Pub­li­ca Union (IRL) par­tic­i­pat­ed in the first China–Europe High Lev­el Polit­i­cal Par­ties Forum.

The grip on con­tacts (抓人脉) is respon­si­ble for devel­op­ing peo­ple-to-peo­ple rela­tions and cre­at­ing a net­work of con­tacts for China’s healthy and sta­ble exter­nal rela­tions. […] Among Eston­ian politi­cians, Kalev Kallo, a mem­ber of the Cen­tre Par­ty and at the time deputy head of the then Estonian–Chinese friend­ship group, par­tic­i­pat­ed in the China–Europe High-Lev­el Polit­i­cal Par­ties Forum in 2011 and 2013. In 2016, Ran­del Länts of the SDE, who cur­rent­ly heads gov­ern­ment rela­tions for the con­sul­tan­cy com­pa­ny Milt­ton, took part in the forum. Milt­ton is known for pro­vid­ing PR ser­vices for the Chi­nese embassy in Tallinn.

Read the rest here.

Past Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report cov­er­age of China’s influ­ence activ­i­ties in Europe has included:

  • In August, we report­ed that Chi­na dom­i­nates Europe’s Chi­nese-lan­guage media landscape.
  • In July, we report­ed about a NATO paper iden­ti­fy­ing China’s use of non-state actors as state proxies.
  • In July, we report­ed that Ger­many seeks to counter Chi­nese influ­ence at Ger­man uni­ver­si­ties as con­cerns about Con­fu­cius insti­tutes grow.