ChinaJuly 7 2022, 14:56 pm

Xinjiang Diaspora ‘Community Groups’ Used as Conduits for CCP Propaganda, Report Finds

The Aus­tralian Strate­gic Pol­i­cy Insti­tute (ASPI) has pub­lished an exten­sive study exam­in­ing the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party’s (CCP) influ­ence oper­a­tions in the Xin­jiang dias­po­ra. The study found that the CCP uses com­mu­ni­ty orga­ni­za­tions in the Chi­nese dias­po­ra as con­duits for pro­mot­ing the party’s Xin­jiang nar­ra­tive and that some are cap­tured by Unit­ed Front offi­cials. Accord­ing to the ASPI study:

July 6, 2022 All gov­ern­ments seek to assert their influ­ence abroad. Chi­na is no excep­tion. Yet the CCP is dif­fer­ent in the decep­tive and coer­cive nature of its influ­ence oper­a­tions, which can under­mine the sov­er­eign­ty and inter­ests of oth­er coun­tries and neg­a­tive­ly affect the lives and lib­er­ties of dias­poric com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers in those coun­tries. This report explores com­mu­ni­ty groups and indi­vid­u­als in the Xin­jiang dias­po­ra that are linked to the CCP’s unit­ed front sys­tem, as well as the meth­ods and tac­tics used by that sys­tem to acti­vate and guide them. […] Our find­ings demon­strate the fol­low­ing: * the CCP is sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly col­lect­ing infor­ma­tion on mem­bers of the Xin­jiang dias­po­ra and cre­at­ing data­bas­es that could strength­en the party’s over­seas sur­veil­lance and inter­fer­ence work.  * com­mu­ni­ty organ­i­sa­tions in the Chi­nese dias­po­ra and their elites are fre­quent­ly used as con­duits for pro­mot­ing the party’s Xin­jiang nar­ra­tive and poli­cies and are active­ly cul­ti­vat­ed, and at times cap­tured, by unit­ed front offi­cials.     * some senior mem­bers of these organ­i­sa­tions also hold promi­nent posi­tions in Chi­na-based unit­ed front organs, which enables them to more effec­tive­ly coor­di­nate activ­i­ties and pro­mote the party’s agen­da.  *  the influ­ence of CCP-linked com­mu­ni­ty groups extends well beyond the Xin­jiang dias­po­ra, and some groups have secured the open or tac­it endorse­ment of local politi­cians while influ­enc­ing local pub­lic opin­ion.  * unit­ed front agen­cies lever­age cul­tur­al events, lan­guage learn­ing, busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ties and polit­i­cal hon­ours to entice and uni­fy over­seas Chi­nese behind the CCP’s hege­mon­ic abstrac­tions of ‘Chi­na’ and ‘Chi­ne­se­ness’ while mar­gin­al­is­ing, silenc­ing and dele­git­imis­ing CCP crit­ics, and iden­ti­ties and cul­tures not approved by the party.

Read the rest here and down­load the full report here.

The Unit­ed Front Work Depart­ment is a lit­tle-known Bei­jing-based agency with branch­es world­wide. It seeks to imple­ment the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party’s (CCP) plans to estab­lish an exten­sive net­work of asso­ci­a­tions, busi­ness groups, friend­ship soci­eties,  and/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, pres­sures indi­vid­u­als liv­ing in free soci­eties to self-cen­sor and avoid dis­cussing issues unfa­vor­able to the CCP and instead harass or under­mine groups crit­i­cal of Beijing’s policies.

Under the rule of Xi Jin­ping, engage­ment with the dias­po­ra has become an instru­ment of Chi­nese soft pow­er and influ­ence. In May, the Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report report­ed on anoth­er ASPI report exam­in­ing the Chi­nese government’s Unit­ed Front activ­i­ties in Europe and North Amer­i­ca, detail­ing its involve­ment with the Chi­nese dias­po­ra. The report explained that “the unit­ed front sys­tem prefers to oper­ate with some plau­si­ble deni­a­bil­i­ty, by fund­ing or co-opt­ing inter­est groups designed to pro­mote sol­i­dar­i­ty among mem­bers of the Chi­nese dias­po­ra.” In July, we report­ed that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment ran a social media dis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign tar­get­ing the Chi­nese diaspora.


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