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French Military Think Tank Report Highlights Chinese Influence Operations In the Czech Republic

November 7th, 2021 16:17

Sinop­sis, a Czech web­site cov­er­ing Chi­nese pol­i­tics, recent­ly report­ed on a French study that high­lights Chi­nese influ­ence oper­a­tions in the Czech Repub­lic. The study, pub­lished by the French mil­i­tary think tank IRSEM, focus­es on var­i­ous influ­ence mech­a­nisms, from eco­nom­ic diplo­ma­cy and co-opta­tion of elites to direct threats from the Chi­nese embassy and China’s influ­ence on Czech acad­e­mia. Accord­ing to the Sinop­sis report:

Sep­tem­ber 24, 2021 As a typ­i­cal exam­ple of the co-opta­tion of politi­cians through “eco­nom­ic diplo­ma­cy” , the report cites the activ­i­ties of the Chi­nese com­pa­ny CEFC (中国 华 信 能源), which between 2015 and 2018 was the most impor­tant Chi­nese enti­ty oper­at­ing in the Czech Repub­lic. Accord­ing to Pres­i­dent Miloš Zeman, CEFC was sup­posed to be the “flag­ship” of Chi­nese invest­ment in our coun­try, and he con­firmed his above-stan­dard favor towards the com­pa­ny by appoint­ing CEFC Chair­man Jie Jing­ming as his hon­orary advi­sor. In the end, the com­pa­ny did not ful­fill its invest­ment promis­es, but man­aged to estab­lish con­tact with a num­ber of Czech politi­cians, some of whom became its employees. […]

The report also men­tions the cir­cum­stances of last year’s Sen­ate Pres­i­dent Miloš Vys­trčil’s trip to Tai­wan. This was pre­ced­ed by threats against his pre­de­ces­sor Jaroslav Kuber by the Chi­nese embassy and Prague Cas­tle. Polit­i­cal pres­sure on the Pres­i­dent of the Sen­ate from the Chi­nese and Czech sides did not end even after the trip. Chi­nese For­eign Min­is­ter Wang I 王毅 on Vys­trčil said he would pay a “high price” and the head of the Depart­ment of Inter­na­tion­al Rela­tions of the Cen­tral Com­mit­tee of the Com­mu­nist Par­ty of Chi­na (D 对外 联络 部, ILD) Sung Tchao val called on the Czech Com­mu­nist Chair­man Vojtěch Fil­ip in a video call he clear­ly dis­tanced him­self from Vystrčil. […]

In con­nec­tion with the influ­ence of the PRC on the aca­d­e­m­ic envi­ron­ment, the IRSEM report cites the exam­ple of Miloš Bal­abán and his Czech-Chi­nese Cen­ter at Charles Uni­ver­si­ty. The cen­ter, whose main activ­i­ty was to orga­nize pro­pa­gan­da con­fer­ences despite its stat­ed aca­d­e­m­ic ambi­tions , ceased oper­a­tions in 2019, when it became clear that Bal­abán had paid for the con­fer­ences from the Chi­nese embassy and col­lect­ed mon­ey through his pri­vate com­pa­ny act­ing as the FSV Secu­ri­ty Pol­i­cy Cen­ter. UK, which Bal­abán also led. [Trans­lat­ed with Google Translate]

Read the rest here.

In Octo­ber, we report­ed on the pub­li­ca­tion of the IRSEM study on China’s glob­al influ­ence operations.