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RECOMMENDED READING: “600 U.S. Groups Linked to Chinese Communist Party Influence Effort with Ambition Beyond Election”

November 4th, 2020 12:46

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.

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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.