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.