A newly-released, hard-hitting report criticizes the Chinese government and even calls for Americans at-large to “acknowledge” what it describes as a “growing threat of Beijing-sponsored influence [of] operations in the U.S.,” adding that the Communist Party is working to alter sentiment for their regime in universities, mainstream media, policy think tanks, and domestic companies. The study says this has led Beijing to “undermining democratic processes,” while the experts on China proclaim, “Americans remain unaware.”
The study was conducted by a group led by Larry Diamond of Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and Orville Schell of the Asia Society in New York, whom received financial support from the Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands, an independent non-profit organization, according to The Wall Street Journal.
China, however, has not been found to have meddling in U.S. elections. Though, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said Beijing’s efforts to affect the American political system include “the more traditional, holistic state-influence campaigns.” Regardless, the experts of China even went as far to say that the White House should restrict visas for Chinese media and scholars unless American journalists and professionals are allowed to operate more freely in the authoritarian state.
Along with limiting American and Western media outlets from operating in China, the country has increased its state-owned media companies’ English-language presence in the U.S.
“The ambition of Chinese activity in terms of the breadth, depth of investment of financial resources, and intensity requires far greater scrutiny than it has been getting, because China is intervening more resourcefully and forcefully across a wider range of sectors than Russia,” the 200-page report “Chinese Influence and American Interests” states. The Chinese Communist Party seeks to sow feelings and views “sympathetic to China’s authoritarian government while suppressing alternative perspectives.” Beijing also targets the Chinese-American community, viewing them as members of a Chinese diaspora with an “allegiance to the so-called Motherland.”
China’s influence-seeking efforts abroad also include Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, and the U.K.
One vital issue pertaining to this that the report outlines:
“Not only does this impede Chinese Americans’ freedom of speech, it also creates the risk that they will be viewed suspiciously within the U.S. even though few may accept Beijing’s directives, the report says. The report urges against demonizing any group of Americans or visitors to the country.”
While Russia typically gets the top spot as “global instigator” nowadays, China is not to be overlooked or underestimated.
As China’s four-decade domestic economic expansion continues, the internal pressures and inequalities in Chinese society have vastly increased, namely the internal regional tensions within the country between the affluent coastal cities and the impoverished interior areas. During this time, the Communist Party has expelled outside interests, including limiting freedom on the Internet to keep the country from fragmenting, socially and politically.
Even though regional fragmentation is a less-likely scenario for China, with the imposition of strict authoritarian rule under the newly-dubbed “leader for life” President Xi Jinping as the regime does away with presidential term limits, traditional isolationism is bound the reign supreme for the next few decades.
Though, their wishes of global economic domination should be cause for concern at some point.
As the trade war lingers between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China, with both countries exploring new tariffs, Beijing’s economy has climbed to unprecedented heights, leading that nation into uncharted territory, geopolitically.
Instances of this are already apparent. For example, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), first proposed by Jinping in 2013.
The program would link the far East with Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, dominating over one-third of world trade and GDP and over 60 percent of the world’s population. Although that portion of the Eastern Hemisphere is less affluent per capita, as free-market economic expansion continues that portion of the global populous will begin to thrive – all under the wealthy umbrella of China.
After all, while China’s government is extraordinarily centralized, their markets are decentralized.
China’s spheres of influence may potentially expand while the U.S. loses its economic (and possibly military) foothold in the world through retaliatory tariffs, a brutally aggressive foreign policy, and a lack of innovation in both business and public education. Considering the People’s Republic is already attempting to influence the feelings of Western society into acknowledging that China’s woeful civil rights violations and new brand of imperialism is “ok,” per a study of experts on China, it should be a wake up call to all Americans.
In the study, under the headline dedicated to “constructive vigilance” in the face of this situation, the experts who authored the study found a few ways the U.S. can combat foreign influence. They range from revoking media visas, promoting reciprocity in instances when Americans are unfairly treated and their freedom is violated in China, enhancing governmental transparency, among others.
However, possibly the best advice, according to them, is:
“Sunshine is the best disinfectant against any manipulation of American entities by outside actors and we should shine as much light as possible on Chinese influence seeking over organizations and individuals if it is covert, coercive, or corrupting. We should also shore up the vitality of our institutions and our own solidarity against Chinese divide-and-conquer tactics. Defending the integrity of American democratic institutions requires standing up for our principles of openness and freedom, more closely coordinating responses within institutional sectors, and also better informing both governmental and nongovernmental actors about the potentially harmful influence activities of China and other foreign actors.”