ChinaJuly 20 2022, 14:19 pm

German Intelligence Says China Seeks to Instrumentalize Diaspora Groups and Journalists; ‘Win Over’ Politicians as Lobbyists

Germany’s domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice has recent­ly pub­lished its annu­al “Con­sti­tu­tion­al Pro­tec­tion” report, which details Chi­nese influ­ence oper­a­tions in the coun­try. The report says Chi­nese intel­li­gence ser­vices seek to con­trol and instru­men­tal­ize Chi­nese dias­po­ra groups, use Ger­many-based Chi­nese jour­nal­ists for infor­ma­tion gath­er­ing pur­pos­es, and “win over” active and for­mer Ger­man politi­cians as lob­by­ists for Chi­nese inter­ests. Accord­ing to the 2021 “Con­sti­tu­tion­al Pro­tec­tion” report:

June 2022 The tasks of the intel­li­gence ser­vices also include con­trol­ling and steer­ing the Chi­nese expa­tri­ate com­mu­ni­ty based in Ger­many. Close insti­tu­tion­al ties to Chi­nese com­pa­nies, stu­dent orga­ni­za­tions, and cul­tur­al asso­ci­a­tions and insti­tutes are intend­ed to ensure loy­al­ty to the line and to strength­en the so-called unit­ed front abroad, includ­ing the instru­men­tal­iza­tion of mem­bers of the dias­po­ra for mea­sures against oppo­si­tion mem­bers. To gath­er infor­ma­tion, the intel­li­gence ser­vices use Chi­nese for­eign cor­re­spon­dents work­ing in Ger­many who are close­ly linked to the Chi­nese Embassy in Berlin and pri­mar­i­ly engage in open inter­view skim­ming. At the same time, Chi­na uses their net­work of con­tacts and the reach of the arti­cles they write to dis­sem­i­nate the CCP’s nar­ra­tives for a pos­i­tive image of Chi­na in Ger­many. […] The suc­cess­ful imple­men­ta­tion of the ambi­tious goals of the CCP requires an envi­ron­ment abroad that is favor­able to Chi­na; This is achieved by influ­enc­ing pol­i­tics, soci­ety and the econ­o­my. In the polit­i­cal are­na, the Chi­nese side is try­ing to win over well-con­nect­ed Ger­man politi­cians (both active and for­mer) as “lob­by­ists” for Chi­nese inter­ests. [Trans­lat­ed with DeepL]

Read the full report here.

The intel­li­gence report con­cludes that China’s glob­al ambi­tions “sug­gest a fur­ther inten­si­fi­ca­tion of both espi­onage activ­i­ties as well as influ­ence activ­i­ties” in Germany.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report has exten­sive­ly report­ed on Chi­nese influ­ence oper­a­tions in Ger­many. In Jan­u­ary 2021, we report­ed that at least 230 busi­ness asso­ci­a­tions, friend­ship soci­eties, or cul­tur­al groups in Ger­many are con­nect­ed to the Unit­ed Front Work Depart­ment, iden­ti­fy­ing the Düs­sel­dorf-based „Arbeits­ge­mein­schaft Deutsch­er Chi­na-Gesellschaften“ (Work­ing Group of Ger­man Chi­na-Soci­eties) as one of the oper­a­tional head­quar­ters of the Unit­ed Front in Ger­many. In August 2021, we pub­lished a GIOR inves­ti­ga­tion into pro-Chi­na elite groups in Europe, iden­ti­fy­ing the Pots­dam-based “Chi­na-Brücke” (Chi­na-Bridge) as China’s pri­ma­ry vehi­cle for elite cap­ture in the country:

Oth­er recent GIOR cov­er­age of Chi­nese influ­ence oper­a­tions in Ger­many has included:

  • In Octo­ber, we report­ed on a study that found that Ger­man uni­ver­si­ties have so far failed to cor­rect­ly iden­ti­fy and mit­i­gate threats to aca­d­e­m­ic free­dom ema­nat­ing from agents under the con­trol of the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party.
  • Last July, we report­ed that Ger­many would invest mil­lions of Euros in com­bat­ing Chi­nese influ­ence over Ger­man Universities.
  • Last May, we report­ed that Chi­na seeks to expand its influ­ence in Ger­many by estab­lish­ing board­ing schools, recruit­ing expa­tri­ate stu­dents, cul­ti­vat­ing local infor­mants, deal­ing with Ger­man pub­lish­ers, and laun­der­ing Chi­nese pro­pa­gan­da through local TV productions.


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