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.
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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.