US media has reported on a Chinese influence network headed by a division of the Communist Party known as the United Front Work Department. According to the Newsweek report, the network has about 600 groups lined to the network in the US, which is described as follows:
To help carry out its program of influence and interference in the U.S., China relies on what Xi calls the country’s “magic weapon:” the party’s “United Front” system led by a Communist Party division called the United Front Work Department. This is “a network of party and state agencies responsible for influencing groups outside the party,” both inside and outside China, as Alex Joske, a researcher on Chinese politics at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, has written. Traditionally, outside China, the United Front has focused on overseas Chinese communities, appealing to their sense of ethnic loyalty to persuade them to “repay the motherland.” Personal benefit is often involved, with the system offering business opportunities in exchange for good will and cooperation. Groups that are part of the system often have innocuous-sounding names, like the Chinese Overseas Exchange Association. Running parallel to the United Front is the Chinese government’s global network of “friendship associations,” under the foreign ministry. The U.S. organizations with which these groups cultivate ties may have no idea of their CPC affiliation.
Importantly, members of the various groups identified by Newsweek, most of them ethnic Chinese, may not be aware of the organization’s ties to the China party-state. Individuals may join for a sense of community or a business opportunity. Despite that, the groups may compete to be close to the Chinese embassy and its consulates hoping to gain status and favors, says Yaqiu Wang, an analyst for Human Rights Watch in New York City. China’s diplomatic system, in turn, connects through them to local Chinese-language communities.
Read the whole report here
The Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported earlier this week that various experts have concluded that Chinese influence operations pose a greater long term threat to the US than Russian efforts. Although the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) has also reported that the US National Security Advisor claimed last month, without evidence, that China was the most active of the countries trying to interfere in the upcoming US elections, we also reported that the recently released US Department of Homeland Security “Homeland Threat Assessment” failed to mention Chinese efforts regarding the upcoming US elections. Instead, it focused on Chinese operations centered on the COVID-19 pandemic.