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US State Department Official Says China’s United Front Work Is Part Of “Malign Influence”

January 16th, 2021 13:48

David R. Stil­well, the US Depart­ment of State Assis­tant Sec­re­tary Bureau Of East Asian And Pacif­ic Affairs, has made remarks at a con­fer­ence last Octo­ber explain­ing how China’s Unit­ed Front Work Depart­ment works to pro­mote Chi­nese inter­ests in West­ern democ­ra­cies. Accord­ing to his state­ment:

Octo­ber 30, 2020 Bei­jing offi­cials claim to seek “win-win” exchanges. They claim to prac­tice “non-inter­fer­ence” in oth­er coun­tries’ affairs. In real­i­ty, how­ev­er, their con­duct is sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly preda­to­ry and hege­mon­ic. The Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty wants con­trol, or at least veto pow­er, over pub­lic dis­course and polit­i­cal deci­sions the world over. This is what guides its for­eign inter­fer­ence activ­i­ties – what Bei­jing calls “Unit­ed Front work,” and we can bet­ter under­stand as polit­i­cal war­fare. Xi Jin­ping calls Unit­ed Front work a “mag­ic weapon” of the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty. Mao Zedong saw it the same way. How does the weapon work? I’ll men­tion a few vis­i­ble exam­ples. Chi­nese Unit­ed Front inter­fer­ence in Aus­tralia has pro­duced years of cas­cad­ing news head­lines. An up-and-com­ing sen­a­tor was forced to resign over improp­er ties to a Bei­jing-linked donor. Numer­ous senior offi­cials retired into jobs with enti­ties con­trolled by Bei­jing. Adver­tis­ing boy­cotts were orga­nized against Chi­nese-lan­guage news­pa­pers that won’t toe Beijing’s line. An intel­li­gence chief warned of the “cat­a­stroph­ic harm” Aus­tralia is sub­ject to as a result of “espi­onage, inter­fer­ence, sab­o­tage and mali­cious insid­er activities.”

Read the state­ment here.

In Novem­ber 2020, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) rec­om­mend­ed a Newsweek report on the Unit­ed Front Work Depart­ment, a lit­tle-known Bei­jing-based agency with branch­es around the world that seeks to imple­ment the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party’s (CCP) plans to set up and con­nect a large net­work of asso­ci­a­tions, busi­ness groups, friend­ship soci­eties or cul­tur­al groups sup­port­ive of the CCP and to ensure that its over­seas cit­i­zens, and oth­ers of eth­nic Chi­nese descent, stay loy­al. Accord­ing to a US gov­ern­ment report, Unit­ed Front work pro­motes Beijing’s pre­ferred glob­al nar­ra­tive, pres­sure indi­vid­u­als liv­ing in free and open soci­eties to self-cen­sor and avoid dis­cussing issues unfa­vor­able to the CCP and harass or under­mine groups crit­i­cal of Beijing’s policies.