German media is reporting that China is seeking to expand its influence in Germany on multiple levels, through the establishment of boarding schools, the recruitment of expatriate students, the cultivation of local informants, deals with German publishers, and the laundering of Chinese propaganda through local TV productions. According to an RND report:
April 28, 2021 In the past, China’s activities in Germany focused on economic and industrial espionage. But by now, insiders report, the field of activity has expanded. It’s about skimming off scientists and students. In Germany there are at least 50,000 Chinese students out of 150,000 visiting Chinese. […] What is relatively new is that the Chinese are also contacting Germans. According to a report by the German internal intelligence agency, “persons with high-quality access are being recruited during stays in China with the prospect of attractive remuneration”. […]
In September it became known that the book retail chain Thalia had entered into a cooperation with a Chinese state-owned company, which was allowed to stock some shelves with Chinese literature for a fee. The books that were placed also included “Rule China”, a collection of speeches by Chinese President Xi Jinping. […]
The Thalia case is joined by DRF Deutschland Fernsehen Produktions GmbH & Co. KG in Urbar (Rhineland-Palatinate), which broadcasts the fifteen-minute magazine “China Info” every day. According to a report by the “Süddeutsche Zeitung”, it will be populated with images from Chinese state television. [Translated with Google Translate with minor edits]
Read the rest here.
The Global Influence Operations Report has extensively covered China’s various influence operations in Europe, including:
- In May, we reported on a study mapping and identifying differences in China’s soft-power policies in 17 European countries, and that argues that China’s reputation and influence is declining in 10 of these countries.
- In April, we reported that China’s state propaganda apparatus is expanding its influence among foreign audiences through advertorial inserts in Western online media outlets.
- In March, we reported that China tries to control its international students studying at Scottish universities through student associations.
- In January, we reported about over 230 organizations deemed part of China’s overt and covert influence operations in Germany.