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Czech MEP Said To be Acting As Agent Of Chinese Influence

December 1st, 2020 17:18

US media is report­ing on what it describes as a promi­nent Euro­pean law­mak­er said to be act­ing as an agent of Chi­nese influ­ence in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment. The POLITICO report iden­ti­fies the law­mak­er as MEP Jan Zahradil:

Novem­ber 26, 2020 Just over a year ago, a promi­nent Euro­pean law­mak­er urged new­ly elect­ed peers to help him rid the bloc of “acri­mo­nious com­pe­ti­tion” with Chi­na. On the face of it, the invi­ta­tion to an EU-Chi­na Friend­ship Group event was busi­ness-as-usu­al in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment. Many so-called friend­ship groups seek to pro­mote cul­tur­al and eco­nom­ic ties between the EU and coun­tries rang­ing from the Unit­ed Arab Emi­rates to Taiwan.“Champagne and canapés will be served,” read the law­mak­er’s invi­ta­tion. But the Chi­na group showed greater poten­tial — and ambi­tion — than oth­ers of its kind. Its leader, a high-pro­file Czech con­ser­v­a­tive named Jan Zahradil, was vice chair of the Par­lia­men­t’s pow­er­ful Inter­na­tion­al Trade Com­mit­tee. As such, he was able to weigh in on EU trade deci­sions and could obtain access to sen­si­tive nego­ti­at­ing doc­u­ments from the Euro­pean Commission.The group’s sec­re­tary-gen­er­al was Gai Lin, a Chi­nese nation­al who had helped to orga­nize more than a dozen trips to Chi­na for EU law­mak­ers over the past decade and a half, and was plugged into Bei­jing’s exten­sive net­work of soft-pow­er institutions.In his invi­ta­tion, Zahradil hint­ed at the advan­tage con­ferred by his posi­tion to prospec­tive mem­bers. He promised to use his “stronger polit­i­cal pro­file” to bol­ster EU-Chi­na ties, espe­cial­ly in the areas of “trade and envi­ron­men­tal pol­i­cy” — the lat­ter a high­ly con­tentious area at the out­set of trade talks.

Read the rest here

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed last month that a Chi­nese-Aus­tralian com­mu­ni­ty leader had become the first per­son charged with a for­eign inter­fer­ence offense under news laws estab­lished in 2018.

The GIOR also report­ed last month on a high-rank­ing Ger­man offi­cial said to have sup­pressed a 2018 report on Chi­nese influ­ence in Germany.