A Czech think tank has released an outstanding and detailed report on Chine influence efforts directed against four Central European countries. The Asociace Pro Mezinárodní Otázky (Association for International Affairs) report begins:
As China rises, it has increasingly come to be perceived through the prism of power politics, including attempts to carve out spheres of influence. Such concerns have primarily focused on East Asia and the broader Asia-Pacific region, but through China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) announced in 2013 also cover farther-flung territories like Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America or Europe.In some of the regions, such as in Central Europe (CE), China is a newcomer and thus without an infrastructure which would allow it to pull the levers of direct power. CE may thus provide an interesting case study of the strategies and tactics China employs to establish its influence from scratch. While China can certainly apply its power directly against Central Europe, the extent of its impact is limited due to the geographic distance of the countries and their geostrategic location (thus practically nullifying the possible use of China’s military hard power), the relatively low level of mutual economic exchange (which limits the effects of possible economic sanctions) and, until recently, the narrow scope of political relations (which puts in doubt the impact of diplomatic sanctions). This study maps the tools China employed in order to gain influence.
Read the entire report here.
Earlier this month, the Global Influence Operations Report (GIOR) reported on a prominent European lawmaker said to be acting as an agent of Chinese influence in the European Parliament.