US media is reporting that the EU-China Friendship Group was suspended following a decision by the European Parliament that the group was too close to the Chinese government. According to the POLITICO report:
January 25, 2021 A controversial group of European lawmakers in favor of stronger ties between the EU and China was suspended only days after POLITICO reported on its activities, the chair of the group said Monday. POLITICO reported on concerns involving the EU-China Friendship Group on November 26, after European Parliament officials expressed concerns it was too close to the Chinese government’s foreign affairs apparatus. Jan Zahradil, the Czech lawmaker who heads the group, said during a hearing of Parliament’s Special Committee on Foreign Influence on Monday that he decided at the end of November to put the forum on ice. The office of European Parliament President David Sassoli confirmed the president was notified on December 1. Zahradil said he suspended the group “awaiting new transparent rules on functioning of all those informal friendship groups.” European Parliament officials expressed concerns because of Zahradil’s high-ranking position as vice chair on the trade committee during crunch negotiations over the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment that was agreed last month.
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The GIOR first reported on Zahradil in November 2020 when POLITICO first identified him as an agent of Chinese influence in the European Parliament.
The Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported in October 2020 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 in October 2020 on a high-ranking German official said to have suppressed a 2018 report on Chinese influence in Germany.
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