(144)Promoting Party Culture Worldwide

When a branch of China’s state-run broadcaster was established in London, nearly six thousand people applied for ninety positions that required reporting news from China’s perspective. The CCP encountered an enviable problem: too many applicants.[5] People’s eagerness to work for the CCP’s mouthpiece reflects the decline of the Western media industry and the threat that the CCP’s foreign propaganda poses to the world.

The World’s Largest Propaganda Machine

Mao Zedong once demanded that Xinhua News Agency “control the earth and let the whole world hear our voices.”[6] The CCP is now able to achieve what it could not achieve in the past.

After the 2008 financial crisis, Western media faced their own financial and business crises. The CCP seized the opportunity to deploy its “great external propaganda” campaign. The People’s Daily, China Daily, Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television (CCTV), China Radio International (CRI), and other CCP mouthpieces set up newspaper boxes, radio stations, and television stations around the world.

Chang Ping, former news director of the major Chinese newspaper Southern Weekend, said that since 2009, the Chinese regime allocated 45 billion yuan (US$6.52 billion) to the “national strategy for external propaganda in public relations and publicity.” According to Chinese media sources, the 45 billion yuan was only a small part of the total expenditure that had been publicized.[7] BBC estimated in 2016 that the CCP spends $10 billion a year on propaganda.[8] In March 2018, the CCP integrated CCTV, CRI, and China National Radio to establish the China Media Group, also called Voice of China, led by the Propaganda Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. It has become the largest propaganda machine in the world.

Xinhua rented a giant billboard in Times Square in New York City to advertise the Communist Party. In 2016, the CCP changed the name of CCTV overseas to CGTN (China Global Television Network).

The CCP’s foreign propaganda attempts to advance with the times. Overseas stations implement a localization strategy, recruiting mainly local reporters and presenters. A photo of Xi Jinping’s video interview with CCTV stationed in the United States shows that 90 percent of the journalists are not Chinese.[9] The content of the programs is transferred from China to foreign countries, and the reporters are hired locally. China’s state-run media thus produces local packaging in the target country — using local faces and voices, but spouting the Communist Party’s thinking and conflating the CCP with China. It uses locals abroad to spread the CCP’s stories and the CCP’s voice — not China’s true stories and not the voice of the Chinese people.

This is the character of the CCP’s external propaganda push. The CCP also provides scholarships to younger generations of international journalists, including in the areas of food and education, so they can get trained or study in China, and at the same time be instilled with the CCP’s view of journalism.

Along with the economic colonization of Africa, CCP media has also reached all corners of Africa. The China-based television and media group StarTimes Media Group is now operating in thirty countries on the African continent and claims to be “the fastest growing and most influential digital TV operator in Africa.” A taxi driver in Uganda said, “More and more Africans understand Chinese society by watching contemporary Chinese TV dramas.”[10]

CCP propaganda has largely been unsuccessful due to a lack of credibility. However, making foreign media the spokesperson of the CCP’s media, ruthlessly attacking the media and individuals who criticize the CCP, and forcing everyone to support the CCP are all part of the recipe of the CCP’s external propaganda campaign.

Turning Media All Over the World Into Xinhua News Agency

In 2015, the foreign ministers of ten countries condemned the CCP for building artificial islands in the controversial South China Sea. At this time, a radio station in the Western suburbs of Washington, D.C., sounded a different note. Not only did it not mention the CCP’s reclamation activities, but it claimed that external forces had attempted to fabricate the facts and aggravate tensions in the South China Sea.[11] This station, called WCRW, voices a great deal of content expressing the position of the CCP — and curiously, it runs no advertising. Its only customer is a Los Angeles company, G&E Studio Inc., itself 60 percent controlled by China Radio International (CRI) in Beijing. G&E has at least fifteen similar stations running in the United States, covering not only Washington, D.C., but also Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Houston, Honolulu, Portland, and Vancouver, among others.
The Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece, China Radio International (CRI), relies on a local company registered under the name of a Chinese-American. With controlling shares, it uses local U.S. radio stations to promote CCP propaganda. The biggest benefit of this operation, and the apparent reason for it, is to conceal the role of the CCP. In order to maximally mislead the audience, listeners are made to feel that Americans themselves are expressing their support for the CCP.

In 2015, CRI ran thirty-three such stations in at least fourteen countries. By 2018, CRI had fifty-eight stations in thirty-five countries.[12] Because the control and operations are carried out through the use of local Chinese companies, it seems that democratic countries are helpless to do anything about the situation legally, although many people are unhappy with the Party’s hidden propaganda. The CCP’s external propaganda push has taken advantage of the loopholes in democratic societies. In the name of democracy, the CCP advocates for dictatorship and attempts to manipulate the audience into adopting its views by exploiting loopholes in the laws of free societies. Thus, in the name of democracy, it aims at destroying democracy.

The China Daily‘s inserts, which in Chinese are summed up with the phrase “making a voyage on a borrowed ship,” are another important part of the CCP’s external propaganda campaign. China Daily publishes a Chinese news insert in The Washington Post and uses a layout style that can give readers the impression that it’s The Washington Post’s content.[13] In addition to The Washington Post, the CCP has struck similar deals with over thirty newspapers, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Telegraph, and Le Figaro. The word “advertising” on the insert is placed in an inconspicuous location, and readers can easily mistake the material for the newspapers’ own content.

On September 23, 2018, the China Daily also inserted four pages of advertisements that looked like ordinary news and commentary in the local Iowa newspaper Des Moines Register. The material attacked the U.S. president, and some called it an attempt to influence the midterm elections.[14]

The Communist Party excels in controlling overseas Chinese media. Through coercion and enticement, the CCP has recruited a large number of Chinese-language media, including some founded by Taiwanese with a previously strong tradition of anti-communism. The CCP-sponsored World Chinese Media Forum is used as a platform to communicate the party’s instructions to Chinese media around the world. On September 10, 2017, the Ninth World Chinese Media Forum was held in Fuzhou. More than 460 overseas Chinese media executives from over sixty countries and regions on five continents attended the meeting.

An example of the impact of this media-control work can be found in the reporting of a California-based Chinese-language media outlet that amplifies CCP propaganda in the Western press. During the CCP’s Nineteenth National Congress, this media outlet’s lengthy reports were almost identical to those published by official Party media.[15]

During the Umbrella Movement protests in Hong Kong in 2014, the Overseas Chinese Media Association controlled by the CCP, with more than 160 media members, urgently organized 142 pro-China media outlets in Asia, Europe, Africa, the United States, and Australia to publish the “Safeguarding Hong Kong Declaration” supporting the CCP’s perspective. The extent and efficacy of the regime’s media penetration overseas has surprised the outside world.[16]

Suppressing opposing voices is another aspect of CCP overseas propaganda operations. The Party threatens journalists who expose them with visa denials and other forms of harassment, leading them to self-censor. The result is that there are few global media corporations that take a completely independent stance on the CCP without regard to consequences imposed by the regime.

There are several ways a scoundrel might make others view him in a more positive light. One way would be to start from within, abandon evil, become good, and stop being a scoundrel. Other people would then over time naturally come to recognize the transformation. The second way would be to begin exerting pressure on others, trying to brainwash them into not recognizing the scoundrel for what he is. Finally, a scoundrel might even mount the most audacious plan, and attempt to use manipulation, lies, gaslighting, and brainwashing to turn everyone else into scoundrels too. This would offer the greatest protection.

The CCP has used both the second and third methods simultaneously over decades. It employs a variety of large-scale propaganda activities to target foreigners, changing the minds of people to make them think that the CCP is no scoundrel at all. In some cases it’s even able to pull them into the mire, turning them into scoundrels along with the Party. Through extensive investments and shrewd operations, the Party has now established a worldwide system for creating alliances, isolating enemies, and turning neutrals into sympathizers or scoundrels.
Brainwashing Through Culture, Literature, and Art

Cultural brainwashing is an important tool for the CCP’s destruction of traditional Chinese culture. In recent years, the Party has advertised its commitment to restoring traditional culture, but as discussed in previous chapters of this book, this wave of supposed restoration of traditional culture has in fact left out the soul of tradition, replacing it with a fake version infused with deviant Party culture. This has not only deceived the world, but has also further devastated traditional culture.

On top of that, in order to further influence the world, one of the key elements of the Party’s external propaganda is to export so-called traditional Chinese culture as defined by the CCP, and to use traditional Chinese customs and practices to whitewash the CCP. This is another form of perception manipulation, or brainwashing. A typical example of this project is the Confucius Institute.

According to incomplete statistics, as of the end of 2017, the CCP had established 525 Confucius Institutes (targeting colleges and universities) in 146 countries and opened 1,113 Confucius Classrooms (targeting elementary and secondary schools).[17] The Confucius Institute’s funds come from Hanban, which is affiliated with the CCP’s United Front Work Department. The use of funds is supervised by personnel from the CCP’s embassies and consulates. Confucius Institutes subvert important academic principles of autonomy and freedom of inquiry, aim to promote the CCP’s version of events, distort the history of China, and omit the CCP’s appalling human rights record. In some Confucius Institute classrooms, quotations of Mao Zedong are hung on the wall. On the surface, Confucius Institutes claim to teach Chinese culture, but in fact they promote communist doctrine and transmit Party culture.

In addition to offering cultural and language courses, Confucius Institutes also distort history and even organize protests against activities the CCP believes threaten its rule. For example, speakers have been invited who repeated CCP lies about Tibet. Others claimed the Korean War was triggered because the U.S.military bombed Chinese villages, and that the Party was forced to send troops.[18

The U.S. Government’s National Defense Authorization Act of 2019, adopted in 2018, includes a strongly worded condemnation of the CCP’s attempts to influence U.S. public opinion, especially “media, cultural institutions, businesses, and academic and political groups.” The Act explicitly prohibits any National Defense funds from being given to Chinese-language departments in U.S. universities where there is a Confucius Institute.[19]

From September to October 2011, Chinese authorities dispatched a song-and-dance troupe of three hundred performers to the Kennedy Center for the Arts in Washington, D.C., where the CCP staged its violent communist dance-drama Red Detachment of Women. In September 2016, in Los Angeles, a high-profile concert was held to commemorate the eightieth anniversary of the victory of the Red Army’s Long March. At the same time, in Australia, the performance Red Songs Concert to Commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Mao Zedong’s Death was held at the Sydney and Melbourne city halls. Local Chinese organizations in Australia protested and were finally able to stop the show. In 2017, the CCP sent the Red Detachment of Women performance to Australia, and in 2018, staged another violent communist dance-drama, Red Guards on Honghu Lake, in Sydney and Melbourne.

When it comes to information warfare, the CCP’s totalitarian regime occupies the high ground compared to democratic regimes: The Party blocks media from all democratic countries, but is able to insert its state-run media in democratic societies. The CCP prevents media from democratic countries from adding inserts to its media, but the CCP can insert its own content into the media from democratic societies, or it simply acquires them when convenient. CCP media serve the Party first and foremost, and Western journalists will never have executive roles. The CCP can, however, send its own undercover people into Western media or train foreigners into being mouthpiece reporters for the Party’s media. As long as the West still regards the CCP media as legitimate, the West will continue to lose in the information war. In 2018, the U.S. Department of Justice ordered Xinhua News Agency and China Global TV Network to register as foreign agents in the United States. It was a correct step, but is still far from sufficient — the problem is the lack of reciprocity in the first place.

The CCP’s foreign propaganda campaign is a major project aimed at globally reshaping the public’s views on the regime, and has met with some results. The CCP spreads its noxious ideology through this propaganda work, and has severely mislead people about the regime, its mode of operations, China’s human rights situation, and views on communism in general.

From Chapter Eighteen
The Chinese Communist Party’s Global Ambitions

Red Detachment of Women

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(143)Unrestricted warfare – breaking all conventional rules and moral restraints

In the process of realizing its global ambitions, the CCP recognizes no moral limitations and obeys no laws. As discussed in the Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party, the history of the CCP’s founding is a process of gradually perfecting the evilness found through history, both in China and around the world, including the Party’s nine inherited traits: “evil, deceit, incitement, unleashing the scum of society, espionage, robbery, fighting, elimination, and control.”[1] These traits are seen everywhere through the CCP’s process of global expansion, and the Party has continually enhanced and strengthened its techniques and their malignancy. The CCP’s “unrestricted warfare” is a concentrated expression of these evil traits and an important part of its success.

The idea of unrestricted warfare has always run through the CCP’s military practices. In 1999, two Chinese colonels officially used the term “unrestricted warfare” in their theoretical military work. As the name implies, unrestricted warfare has these characteristics: “a war beyond all boundaries and limits,” “forcing the enemy to accept one’s own interests by all means, including methods of force and non-force, military and non-military, killing and non-killing.” “The means are all-inclusive, information is omnipresent, the battlefield is everywhere” — “beyond all political, historical, cultural, and moral restraints.”[2]

Unrestricted warfare means that “all weapons and technologies can be used at will; it means that all the boundaries between the worlds of war and non-war, military and non-military are broken.” It utilizes methods that span nations and any particular sphere of activity. Finance, trade, the media, international law, outer space, and more are all potential battlefields. Weapons include hacking, terrorism, biochemical warfare, ecological warfare, atomic warfare, electronic warfare, drugs, intelligence, smuggling, psychological warfare, ideology, sanctions, and so on.[3]
The authors of Unrestricted Warfare believe that “the generalization of war” is the inevitable direction of the future and that every field must be militarized. They believe that a large number of nonmilitary personnel who do not wear military uniforms are the key to unrestricted warfare. The government must quickly prepare for combat in all invisible fields of war.[4]

Many people refer to various professional or social environments as “battlefields” by way of metaphor, but for the CCP, it means war in a very real sense. All fields are battlefields because the CCP is in a state of war at all times, and everyone is a combatant. All conflicts are regarded as struggles of life and death. Slight problems are magnified to be questions of principle or ideology, and the whole country is mobilized as if in war to meet the CCP’s goals.

In the 1940s, during the Chinese Civil War, the CCP used economic warfare to harm the economy of the Nationalist government (Kuomintang) of the Republic of China and make it collapse. The Party used espionage to obtain the Kuomintang’s military plans even before the KMT’s own troops received them, and used numerous conspiracies while communist armies fought on the battlefield. The CCP still uses these unrestricted means today, yet on an even larger and broader scale. Unrestricted warfare means breaking all conventional rules and moral restraints. This leaves most Westerners, Western governments, and companies unable to understand how the CCP acts, much less compete with it.

The CCP implements unrestricted warfare in numerous fields, using many seemingly mundane means to achieve its goals:
Exporting Party culture and lies to the world through foreign propaganda
Controlling global media and carrying out ideological unrestricted warfare
Using fame, honey traps, human relationships, bribery, and despotic power to unite the leaders of the United Nations, important political figures of various countries, experts in think tanks and academic circles, tycoons, and influential people from all walks of life to cultivate friendships to support the CCP and help it through crises
Supporting, inciting, and allying with rogue regimes to distract the United States and Western governments
Using trade diplomacy to make free countries compete against one another, with the market of more than one billion Chinese as bait
Deepening economic integration and interdependency to tie up other countries
Violating WTO trade rules
Making false reform commitments to accumulate trade surplus and foreign exchange reserves
Using the fruits of capitalism to fatten the body of socialism
Using the market, foreign exchange, and financial resources as weapons to suppress human rights through economic unrestricted warfare and to force other countries to abandon moral responsibility and universal values
Forcing Chinese working abroad in private enterprises to steal information from developed countries
Making hostages of China’s citizens and those of other countries

From Chapter Eighteen
The Chinese Communist Party’s Global Ambitions

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(142)Communist China’s Military Ambitions

At the 2018 Zhuhai Airshow in China, the debut of the CH-7 Rainbow drone caught the attention of military experts. The Rainbow series signifies that China has caught up in the technology for developing armed drones. A large number of CH-4 Rainbows have taken over the military markets of Jordan, Iraq, Turkmenistan, and Pakistan, countries that were restricted from purchasing armed drones from the United States. [94] The latest CH-7 Rainbow, in some ways, is as well-equipped as X-47B, the best the United States has to offer. An observer noticed that the latest CH-7 was revealed at the 2018 Airshow in China before it was tested by the PLA. [95] The video played at the airshow simulated the drones combating the enemy, which was clearly the U.S. military. [96] All of these moves clearly show China’s ambition to challenge the U.S. hegemony.

In recent years, as China’s military power became more developed, its ambition couldn’t stay unnoticed. Chinese vessels followed and harassed a U.S. surveillance ship (USNS Impeccable) in the South China Sea while it was conducting routine operations in international waters [97].

A similar incident took place later in Yellow Sea international waters. The Chinese vessels repeatedly came close to the USNS Victorious. They came within 30 yards of the U.S. ship, forcing it to make a dangerous sudden stop. [98] The most recent incident happened in September 2018, when a Chinese warship conducted aggressive maneuvers warning the USS Decatur to depart the area. The Chinese ship approached within 45 yards of the bow of the American vessel, forcing the Decatur to maneuver to prevent a collision. [99]

The CCP regime revealed its military ambitions long ago. Its strategy is to move from being a land power to being a maritime superpower and eventually establishing hegemony on both land and sea. In 1980, Beijing’s strategy was to perform active defense, and its focus was mainly on defending its own borders. At the time, its main adversary was the Soviet Army. In 2013, Beijing’s frontline defense turned into active offense for the purpose of expanding its frontline. It proposed “strategic offense as an important type of active defense.” [100]

In 2015, a Chinese military theorist and author of Unrestricted Warfare: China’s Master Plan to Destroy America made the following statements: “One Belt, One Road policy requires the army to have expeditionary ability.” “The Chinese land forces must take a flying leap and revolutionize itself.” “The national interests that come with One Belt, One Road are an enormous incentive for the Chinese army to reform.” [101] All this fuels Beijing’s aim to become a land-based superpower.

The U.S. Department of Defense said in its Annual Report to Congress in 2018:

China’s maritime emphasis and attention to missions guarding its overseas interests have increasingly propelled the PLA beyond China’s borders and its immediate periphery. The PLAN’s [the Chinese navy] evolving focus — from “offshore waters defense” to a mix of “offshore waters defense” and “open seas protection” — reflects the high command’s expanding interest in a wider operational reach. China’s military strategy and ongoing PLA reform reflect the abandonment of its historically land-centric mentality. Similarly, doctrinal references to “forward edge defense” that would move potential conflicts far from China’s territory suggest PLA strategists envision an increasingly global role. [102]

China’s goal is to first break through the boundaries of the first island chain and head to the open waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. The first island chain stretches from the Kuril Islands in the north to the islands of Taiwan and Borneo in the south. The chain surrounds the Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the western Pacific Ocean.

The purpose of China’s expansion in the South China Sea was to break through the first island chain. China built islands and militarized reef islets in the South China Sea. It equipped them with airports, shore-based aircraft, and missiles. Currently three strategically important islets in the South China Sea, namely Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef, and Mischief Reef, have been fortified with anti-ship cruise missiles, surface-to-air missiles, and airfields. The islands have essentially formed stationary aircraft carriers that can be used in the event of military conflict. At the strategic level, the Chinese navy is capable of breaking through the boundaries of the first island chain and has the capability to fight in the open ocean.

Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist, said on several occasions that the United States is headed for military conflict with China. “We’re going to war in the South China Sea in five to ten years,” he said in March 2016. “There’s no doubt about that.” [103]

Lawrence Sellin, former American colonel and military commentator, believes that “China is now attempting to extend its international influence beyond the South China Sea by linking to a similar framework for dominance in the northern Indian Ocean. If permitted to complete the link, China could be in an unassailable position to exert authority over roughly one-half of the global GDP.” [104]

The dominance of the South China Sea isn’t an issue of territory, but of global strategy. Each year, close to US$5 trillion in merchandise moves through the South China Sea. [105] For China, its Maritime Silk Road begins with the South China Sea, and an estimated 80 percent of its oil imports are projected to travel via the region. [106] Peacekeeping in the South China Sea following World War II fell to the United States and its allies. This poses a big threat to the Chinese regime, which is preparing to go to war with the United States and deems the South China Sea a key area for its economic growth and military expansion.

Taylor Fravel, the Arthur and Ruth Sloan Professor of Political Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), pointed out an interesting fact after figuring out how China has solved it territorial disputes in history. Since 1949, China has engaged in twenty-three territorial disputes with its neighbors. It settled seventeen of these disputes. In fifteen of these settlements, Beijing offered substantial compromises on the allocation of disputed territory. But when it comes to issues in the South China Sea, since the 1950s, even when the Chinese navy was militarily insignificant, it has taken an uncompromising approach and has claimed indisputable sovereignty over the region. China has never used such absolute language to other land disputes. [107]

Apparently, “fighting every inch” isn’t how China solves its border conflicts. Professor M. Taylor Fravel listed several reasons for China’s strong stand on South China Sea (SCS) issues. “China views offshore islands such as the Spratlys as strategic. From these islands, China can claim jurisdiction over adjacent waters that might contain significant natural resources and even jurisdiction over some activities of foreign naval vessels,” he said. “South China Sea outcrops can also be developed into forward outposts for projecting military power.” “They might also aid China’s submarine force by preventing other states from tracking Chinese submarines that seek to enter the Western Pacific from the South China Sea.” [108]

The Chinese regime’s aggressive and expansionary actions in the South China Sea, especially the steps it has taken in recent years to change the status quo, have heightened military tensions in the greater region. Japan has reversed a decade of declining military expenditures, while India has revived its stalled plans for naval modernization. [109]

Masking its efforts with the excuse of safe passage for energy and freight, China’s active expansion in the South China Sea has tipped the balance of power in the region and increases the possibility of military conflict. One expert pointed out that “Chinese perception of the SCS as a security concern has led to an erosion of security in the region.” [110] This standpoint echoes that of Bannon.

In 2017, the Chinese military established its first overseas military base in Djibouti. Western scholars believe that Chinese military officials are looking beyond the Western Pacific Region and considering how to project power ever farther abroad. [111] For example, the CCP has recently been active in the Pacific Island countries, regardless of costly investments. Its long-term goal is that in the future, these island countries serve as supply stations for the PLAN’s blue-water fleet. [112] The military expansion of the CCP is not limited to the traditional divisions of land, sea, and air; it is also making advances into the realms of space and electromagnetic warfare.

The CCP’s military ambitions are backed by vast reserves of manpower, equipment, and funding.

The CCP regime maintains the largest regular army in the world, with two million active military personnel. The People’s Liberation Army also has the largest ground force in the world, the largest number of warships, the third-most naval tonnage, and a massive air force. It has a trinity nuclear strike capability consisting of intercontinental ballistic missiles, ballistic-missile submarines, and strategic bombers.

The Chinese regime also has 1.7 million armed police personnel, which are under the unified leadership of the CCP Central Military Commission, and a large number of reserve and militia units. The Party’s military doctrine has always stressed the importance of “people’s war.” Under the CCP’s totalitarian system, it can quickly impress all available resources to military use. This means that the CCP has a pool of over a billion people (including overseas Chinese) from which it can draft huge numbers of people into militia service.

China’s GDP increased rapidly between 1997 and 2007. The CCP relies on economic power to rapidly expand armaments production and upgrade its arsenal. It is estimated that by 2020, the PLA ground forces will have five thousand modern main battle tanks. The PLAN will have at least two aircraft carriers in its fleet. Ninety percent of PLA Air Force fighters are of the fourth generation, and China has begun to introduce fifth-generation fighters.

In early 2017, China announced a 6.5 percent inflation-adjusted increase in its annual military budget to US$154.3 billion. Analysis of data from 2008 through 2017 indicates China’s official military budget grew at an annual average of 8 percent in inflation-adjusted terms over that period. [113] Observers estimate that the actual military spending of the CCP is twice as much as what is officially acknowledged. Aside from this, the military strength of the regime is not fully reflected in military spending because its actual military expenditure is higher than the public figures, and the CCP can requisition many civilian resources and manpower at its discretion. The entire industrial system can serve the needs of war, which means its true military capabilities far exceed official data and the usual estimates.

The CCP will build a global system consisting of more than thirty Beidou (Big Dipper) navigation satellites by the end of 2020, with global GPS military positioning capabilities. The mass production of the Rainbow series of military drones serves more tactical considerations for the CCP. For example, in the Taiwan Strait layout, the CCP may gain advantages through its unmanned aircraft machine-sea tactics. [114] A large number of aerial drones can form clusters under the control of satellites and artificial intelligence, making them useful in regional and asymmetrical conflicts.

The stealth fighter Chinese J-20, which was unveiled at the Zhuhai Air Show, resembles the American F-22, while the Chinese J-31 appears modeled on the F-35. The PLA is closing the gap with the United States in the development of modern jet fighters.

In addition, the CCP uses a broad range of espionage to catch up with the United States in technology. According to some recent estimates, more than 90 percent of espionage against the United States conducted via hacking comes from China, and the CCP’s networks infiltrate large American companies and the military, stealing technology and knowledge that the Chinese cannot develop independently. [115] China’s drone technology was stolen from the United States.

In terms of tactics, the PLA is keen on asymmetric capabilities: asymmetric warfare, asymmetric strategy, and asymmetric weapons. [116] Adm. Philip S. Davidson, the new commander of the Indo-Pacific Command, described China as a “peer competitor.” He said that China is not trying to match America’s firepower at a one-to-one ratio; rather, it is trying catch up with the United States by building critical asymmetric capabilities, including the use of anti-ship missiles and capabilities in submarine warfare. He warned that “there is no guarantee that the United States would win a future conflict with China.” [117]

The CCP relied on its research and development of Dongfeng 21D missiles (anti-ship ballistic missiles for use against U.S. aircraft carriers) to conduct similar sniper-mode confrontation. In 2018, the CCP publicly exhibited the land-based Eagle-Attack-12B supersonic anti-ship missile, known as the “aircraft carrier killer.” It has drawn a 550-kilometer “death zone” in the western Pacific, in which American carrier battle groups will be susceptible to ultra low-altitude saturation strikes. These missiles become an important military means of the PLA’s regional denial operations aimed at preventing U.S. military intervention.

Following the rapid expansion of its military power, the CCP regime has become a huge weapons exporter to the world’s authoritarian regimes, such as North Korea and the rogue regimes of the Middle East. On the one hand, the goal is to expand its military alliances, and on the other hand, to disperse and counter U.S. military power. The CCP regime spreads and encourages anti-American sentiment and hatred. It is easy for the CCP to unite with other anti-American regimes to further its hegemonic ambitions.

At the same time, the CCP leadership advocates terrorist military theories such as the aforementioned unrestricted warfare. It advocates the necessity of war by saying that “war is not far from us, it is the birthplace of the Chinese century.” It legitimizes violence and terror with words such as “The dead are the driving force for the advancement of history.” It justifies aggression: “There is no right to development without the right to war,” and “the development of one country poses a threat to another — this is the general rule of world history.” [118]

Zhu Chenghu, dean of the Defense College of the National Defense University of the People’s Republic of China, publicly stated that if the United States intervenes in a war in the Taiwan Strait, China will preemptively use nuclear weapons to raze hundreds of cities in the United States, even if all of China to the east of Xi’an (a city located at the western edge of China’s traditional boundaries) were destroyed as a consequence. [119] Zhu’s statements were a public display of the CCP’s ambitions and a means of probing reactions by the international community.

It is important to be aware of the fact that the CCP’s military strategies are always subordinate to its political needs, and that the regime’s military ambitions are only a small part of its overall schemes. The Party’s approach is to rely on both economic and military means to impose its communist ideology on the rest of the world. [120]

From Chapter Eighteen
The Chinese Communist Party’s Global Ambitions

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(141)Encroaching on America’s Backyard

Being geographically close to the United States, Latin America has historically been within America’s sphere of influence. Although there were a number of socialist regimes that appeared in Latin America when the tide of communism swept over the world during the mid-twentieth century, external influences never posed a threat to America.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the CCP began to target Latin America. Under the banner of “South to South cooperation,” it started engaging in an all-of-society infiltration of the region, penetrating into areas like economy, trade, military, diplomacy, culture, and the like. The governments of many Latin American countries, like Venezuela, Cuba, Ecuador, and Bolivia, were already hostile toward America, and the CCP made full use of this when it extended its tentacles across the ocean, further aggravating the tensions these nations had with America and heightening their anti-American stance.

On one hand, this would weaken the advantage the United States had in the region. On the other hand, the CCP could freely operate in America’s backyard, support the socialist regimes in Latin America, and thus lay the groundwork for long-term confrontation with the United States. It is no exaggeration to say that the CCP’s infiltration and influence in Latin America have far exceeded what the Soviet Union had achieved in the past.

First, the CCP used foreign trade and investment to expand its influence in Latin America. According to a report from the Brookings Institution, a U.S.-based think tank, in 2000, China’s trade with Latin America was only US$12 billion, but by 2013, it had ballooned to US$260 billion, an increase of more than twenty times. Prior to 2008, China’s loan commitments didn’t exceed US$1 billion, but in 2010, it had increased to US$37 billion. [86] From 2005 to 2016, China pledged to loan US$141 billion to Latin American countries. Today, the loans from China have exceeded those from the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank combined. The CCP has also promised that it would provide Latin America with US$250 billion of direct investment by 2025 and that bilateral trade between China and Latin America would reach US$500 billion. Latin America is currently China’s second-largest investment target, directly after Asia.

For many South American countries, China has dominated foreign trade. The three biggest economies in Latin America — Brazil, Chile, and Peru — have China as their top trading partner. China is the second-largest for Argentina, Costa Rica, and Cuba. With highway construction in Ecuador, port projects in Panama, and a planned fiber-optic cable running from Chile to China, China’s influence throughout Latin America is evident. [87]

All the while, the CCP has deployed its state companies to turn Latin America into its resource base, with examples being Baosteel’s vast investment in Brazil, and the control Shougang has over the iron mines in Peru. The CCP has also shown great interest in Ecuador’s oil and Venezuela’s fuel oil and gold mines.

The CCP also invests heavily in Latin American infrastructure. In Argentina, the CCP has promised to invest US$25 million in ports that transport food, and to invest US$250 million in highways linking Argentina to Chile. [88]

In the military domain, the CCP has been stepping up its infiltration of Latin America in both scope and depth. A researcher from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Jordan Wilson, found that the CCP has progressed from low-level military sales before 2000 to high-end military sales, reaching US$100 million in exports by 2010. Especially after 2004, military exports from the CCP to Latin America have been increasing substantially. The recipients of these arms sales were all anti-U.S. regimes, such as Venezuela. At the same time, there has also been an increase in military engagement such as education and training exchanges and joint military exercises. [89]

At the China-Argentina bilateral summit held in Beijing in 2015, if the agreements between both countries were finalized, they would mark a new phase of military cooperation between the two countries. This included the joint production of advanced, high-end products, including the establishment of the CCP’s first space-tracking and control station in the southern hemisphere within the borders of Argentina. It also included the sale of Chinese-made fighter aircraft to Argentina, with the total value amounting to between US$500 million and US$1 billion, exceeding the CCP’s total arms exports of US$130 million in 2014 across the Latin American region.

The CCP is rapidly developing ties with Latin America across diplomatic, economic, cultural, and military dimensions. In 2015, new requirements outlined in a defense white paper by the CCP “specifically assign the PLA [the People’s Liberation Army, the CCP’s military] to ‘actively participate in both regional and international security cooperation and effectively secure China’s overseas interests.’” [90]

On the diplomatic front, due to the CCP’s incentives and threats, Panama, Dominica, and El Salvador have chosen to sever diplomatic ties with the Republic of China (Taiwan) and instead embrace the communist People’s Republic of China. In June 2017, Panama announced that it had established relations with the PRC and ceased diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which had lasted over a century. Three years ago, the CCP started actively planning to invest in Panama’s infrastructure, such as ports, railways, and highways, with the total amount of investment reaching TWD$760 billion (about US$24 billion). [91] China has already acquired control over both ends of the Panama Canal, which is of great international strategic importance.

The CCP has also invested close to US$30 billion in El Salvador’s La Union port. In July 2018, the U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador, Jean Manes, warned in El Salvador’s El Diario De Hoy (Newspaper of Today) that Chinese investment in La Union had a military objective and deserved close attention. [92]

On the cultural front, the CCP has established thirty-nine Confucius Institutes and eleven Confucius Classrooms in Latin America and the Caribbean, with total enrollment exceeding 50,000. [93] Confucius Institutes have been identified as institutions used by the CCP for spying, as well as transmitting Party culture and the ideology of the CCP under the guise of traditional Chinese culture.

The expansion and infiltration of the CCP regime in Latin America is a serious threat to the United States. By using access to the Chinese market, dependence on economic investment and military aid to sway the policies of Latin American governments, China is able to pull them into its own sphere of influence and pit them against the United States. The canals, ports, railways, and communications facilities the CCP builds are all important tools that will be used in the future for expanding and establishing its global hegemony.

From Chapter Eighteen
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(140)”Chinese Model” to Colonize Africa

After World War II, Africa underwent decolonization, and many African countries gained independence. As technology and capital were transferred from the West to China, Africa gradually lost the attention of the West. Strengthened by the West, the Chinese Communist Party steadily encroached on Africa. The forces of the CCP started replacing what the Western sovereign powers had set up in Africa and infiltrated its politics, economy, and society. On one hand, the CCP has wooed African states under the banner of aiding those countries’ development, creating a united front against the United States and other free countries in the United Nations. On the other hand, through economic bribery and military aid, the CCP has relentlessly manipulated African governments and opposition groups, controlling the affairs of African countries while imposing the Chinese model and its values on them.

From 2001 to 2010, the CCP-controlled Export-Import Bank of China supplied US$62.7 billion dollars in loans to African countries. The interest rates on these loans were relatively low and superficially do not appear to come with political conditions, but because these loans use natural resources as collateral, the CCP has obtained the effective rights to extract massive amounts of resources.

In 2003, the loan provided by the Export-Import Bank of China to Angola used crude oil as collateral in what is called the “Angola Model.” The following situation developed: “There are Chinese to drill the oil and then pump it into the Chinese pipeline guarded by Chinese strongmen on its way to a port built by the Chinese, where it is loaded onto Chinese tankers headed for China. Chinese to arm a government committing crimes against humanity; and Chinese to protect that government and stick up for it in the UN security council.” [72]

In 2016, China became Africa’s biggest trading partner and foreign direct investor. [73] In Africa, the CCP’s management model has been roundly criticized for its many ills: low wages, poor working conditions, shoddy products, “tofu-dreg engineering,” environmental pollution, bribery of government officials, and other corrupt practices. China’s mining operations in Africa also frequently met with protests from the local people.

Michael Sata, former president of Zambia, said during his presidential campaign in 2007: “We want the Chinese to leave and the old colonial rulers to return. They exploited our natural resources too, but at least they took good care of us. They built schools, taught us their language and brought us the British civilisation. At least Western capitalism has a human face; the Chinese are only out to exploit us.” [74] In Zambia, Chinese influence can be seen everywhere. Sata was faced with no choice but to make deals with the CCP. Once he gained power, he immediately met with China’s ambassador, and in 2013 visited China.

Sudan was one of the earliest bases that the CCP established in Africa, and over the past twenty years, the CCP’s investment in Sudan has grown exponentially. Apart from its abundant oil reserves, Sudan’s strategic location at the Red Sea was also vital to the CCP’s plans. [75] In the 1990s, when Sudan was isolated by the international community because of its support for terrorism and radical Islam, the CCP took advantage and rapidly became Sudan’s largest trading partner, purchasing most of the oil exported by Sudan. [76] The investment by the CCP helped Bashir’s totalitarian regime survive and develop despite being contained by the West. The CCP’s military even exported weapons to Sudan during this period, indirectly facilitating the Darfur genocide in Sudan at the beginning of this century.

In the international community, the CCP played a two-faced role: While China sent out a peacekeeping team to the U.N. to mediate the conflict in Sudan, Beijing also openly invited the Sudanese president, a criminal wanted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity, to visit China, and declared that no matter how the world changed, no matter what the situation was in Sudan, that China would always be Sudan’s friend. [77]

The CCP spares few efforts in wooing developing nations. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was established in 2000 and first held in Beijing. In the subsequent forums that were held during key years, the leaders of the CCP threw money at Africa. In 2000, during the inaugural meeting, Jiang Zemin announced debt relief of 10 billion yuan for the poor countries in Africa. In 2006, when Beijing was again the host country of the summit, the CCP not only announced the relief of debt as of the end of 2005 for poor African countries it had diplomatic relations with [78], but also sent over US$10 billion in funding, credit, scholarships, and various aid projects.

In 2015, during the summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, the CCP announced that it would provide capital of US$60 billion to work with African countries to carry out the ten major cooperation plans. [79] On August 28, 2018, the CCP’s vice minister of Commerce noted that “97 percent of products from thirty-three of the least-developed African countries have zero tariffs.” [80] On Sept. 3, 2018, during the China-Africa Cooperation Forum held in Beijing, the CCP again pledged that it would provide Africa with US$60 billion of no-strings-attached aid, interest-free loans, and project-specific capital and investment. At the same time, the CCP promised that for African countries with diplomatic relations with the CCP, it would cancel their inter-government debts that matured at the end of 2018. [81]

After several decades of painstaking effort, through commerce and trade, the CCP gained control over Africa’s economy. By using economic incentives, it has bought off many African governments, such that they follow Beijing’s every instruction. The outside world has noticed how the CCP regime is attempting to conquer Africa, and how it is using Africa as the stage for promoting and advocating the Party’s model. A scholar in the Chinese regime establishment declared: “China’s progress over the past forty years has proven that it doesn’t need to do what the West did to achieve success. History has not ended yet. The impact of this on Africa is beyond what you can imagine.” [82]

Following China, the former prime minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zanawi, established a Five-Year Plan for Ethiopia. The organization and structure of the ruling party, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), also bore a striking resemblance to the CCP regime. An anonymous source within the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that many high-level officials in the EPRDP had gone to China to study and undergo training, and that the children of many important officials also went to China for their education. It was even more apparent at the ministerial level, where virtually every official was reading The Selected Writings of Mao Zedong. [83]

In March 2013, at the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) summit, the Ethiopian prime minister stated that China was both a trading partner and a development model for Ethiopia. Today, Ethiopia is called Africa’s “New China.” Its internet monitoring and censorship, the totalitarian nature of its government, its media control, and the like are all cast in the same mold as China’s. [84]

Ethiopia is not the only example. In 2018, the International Department of the Central Committee of the CCP held the fourth China-Africa Young Leaders Forum and the second China-Latin America Political Parties Forum in Shenzhen, Guangdong. The training was targeted at leaders and government officials.

Yun Sun, co-director of the China Program at the Washington-based Stimson Center, said that this kind of political training was to export the Chinese model to developing countries. She said:

They organized this kind of political training with three objectives in mind. First, that the CCP’s regime is legitimate — it is attempting to tell the world how the CCP has successfully managed China and how this success could be replicated for developing countries. Second, the CCP seeks to promote the experience China had in its development, during the so-called “exchange of ideas on how to govern the country.” Although the CCP is not explicitly “exporting revolution,” it is certainly exporting its ideological approach. The third objective is to strengthen exchanges between China and Africa. [85]

From Chapter Eighteen
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(139)Creating A Split

In the Cold War, Europe was at the center of the confrontation between the free world and the communist camp. America and Western European nations maintained a close alliance via the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. After the end of the Cold War, Europe began to decline in terms of economic and political importance.

In order to drive a wedge between Europe and United States, the CCP adopted a strategy of dividing and conquering the European countries by adapting to local conditions to gradually penetrate and develop influence in Europe. In recent years, the differences between Europe and the United States on many major issues have become increasingly apparent. The CCP’s activities have had a hand in this.

After the 2008 financial crisis, the CCP exploited the fact that weaker European economies were in urgent need of foreign investment. The CCP injected large sums of money into these countries in exchange for compromises on issues such as international law and human rights. The CCP used this method to create and expand the cracks between European countries, and reaped the benefits. Countries targeted by the CCP include Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Hungary.

After the sovereign debt crisis in Greece, the CCP invested heavily there, exchanging money for political influence, and using Greece as an opening for building more influence in Europe. Within a few years, the CCP obtained a thirty-five-year concession for the second and third container terminals of Piraeus Port, Greece’s largest port, and took over the main transshipment hub at the port.

In May 2017, China and Greece signed a three-year action plan covering railways, ports, airport network construction, power-energy networks, and power-plant investments. [55] The CCP’s investment has already seen political returns. After 2016, Greece, a member of the European Union, has repeatedly opposed EU proposals that would criticize the Chinese regime’s policies and human rights record. Many potential EU statements to this effect did not materialize. In August 2017, commentary by The New York Times said, “Greece has embraced the advances of China, its most ardent and geopolitically ambitious suitor.” [56]

In 2012, the CCP regime launched a cooperation framework with sixteen countries in Central and Eastern Europe called “16+1.” Hungary was the first country to join the 16+1 initiative and the first European country to sign a One Belt, One Road agreement with China. In 2017, bilateral trade volume between China and Hungary exceeded US$10 billion. Like Greece, Hungary has repeatedly opposed EU criticism of the CCP’s human rights abuses. [57] The president of the Czech Republic hired a wealthy Chinese businessman to be his personal adviser and has kept his distance from the Dalai Lama. [58]

Among the sixteen countries included in the framework, eleven are EU countries, and five are non-EU countries. The CCP has ulteriorly proposed a new model of regional cooperation, with the intent to divide the European Union being obvious. Additionally, among the sixteen countries, many are former socialist countries. These countries all have a history of communist rule, and have preserved many ideological and organizational traces of those regimes. To some extent, conforming to the CCP’s demands comes naturally to them.

There are many small countries in Europe, and it is difficult for any one country to compete with the CCP. The CCP has used this to handle each government individually, intimidating them into staying silent on China’s human rights abuses and pernicious foreign policy. The most typical example is Norway. In 2010, the Norwegian Nobel Prize Committee awarded the Peace Prize to an incarcerated Chinese dissident. The CCP quickly took revenge by setting up various obstacles to prevent Norway from exporting salmon to China, as well as causing other difficulties. Six years later, relations between the two countries were “normalized,” but Norway has remained silent on human rights issues in China. [59]

The traditional Western European powers have also felt the growing influence of the CCP. The CCP’s direct investment in Germany has grown substantially since 2010. In 2016 and 2017, China was Germany’s largest trading partner. In 2016, fifty-six German companies were acquired by mainland Chinese and Hong Kong investors, with investment reaching a high of 11 billion euros. These mergers and acquisitions allowed Chinese companies to quickly enter the market and acquire advanced Western technology, brands, and other assets. [60] The Hoover Institution of the United States, in a 2018 report, has labeled this the CCP’s “weaponization” investment. [61]

The industrial city of Duisburg in western Germany has become the European transit point for OBOR. Every week, thirty trains filled with Chinese goods come to the city, where they are then transported separately to other countries. The mayor of Duisburg has said that Duisburg is Germany’s “China City.” [62]

In dealing with France, the CCP has long used a strategy of “transaction diplomacy.” For example, when Jiang Zemin, then-CCP regime head, visited France in 1999, he provided a large sale worth 15 billion francs by purchasing nearly thirty Airbus aircraft, leading to the French government’s support for China’s admission into the WTO. Following the Tiananmen Square massacre, France became the first Western country to establish a comprehensive strategic partnership with China. The French president at the time was the first in the West to oppose criticism of China at the Geneva Human Rights Conference, the first to advocate strongly for the lifting of the EU arms embargo on China, and the first head of a Western government who praised the CCP. [63] In addition, the CCP established large-scale Chinese Culture Weeks in France at an early stage of its expansionary activity as a means of promoting communist ideology under the guise of culture. [64]

The United Kingdom, a traditional European power for much of history and an important ally of the United States, is also one of the CCP’s most prized targets. On September 15, 2016, the British government officially approved the start of the Hinkley Point C unit nuclear power project, a joint venture between China and a French consortium. Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is a nuclear power plant in Somerset, in southwest England, with an installed capacity of 3,200 megawatts.

The project was severely criticized by experts, including engineers, physicists, environmentalists, China experts, and business analysts, who especially referred to the huge hidden dangers to British national security. Nick Timothy, the ex-chief of staff to Theresa May, pointed out that security experts — reportedly inside as well as outside government — “are worried that Chinese people can use their role to build weaknesses in the computer system, which will enable them to shut down British energy production at will.” [65] The British Guardian calls this “the ‘dreadful deal’ behind the world’s most expensive power plant.” [66]

As in other parts of the world, the methods the Chinese regime uses to expand its influence in Europe are pervasive and legion. They include acquiring European high-tech companies, controlling the shares of important ports, bribing retired politicians to praise the CCP’s platform, coaxing sinologists to sing the praises of the CCP, penetrating universities, think tanks, and research institutes, and so on. [67] The English-language edition of the CCP-controlled China Daily has a monthly page insert in the long-established British newspaper The Daily Telegraph; the inserts carry articles beautifying the Chinese regime. Beijing pays The Daily Telegraph up to 750,000 pounds a year for the inserts. [68]

The CCP’s activities in Europe have caused great misgivings among researchers. The European Institute of Public Policy (GPPI), a leading think tank in Europe, published a research report in 2018 exposing the CCP’s infiltration activities in Europe:

China commands a comprehensive and flexible influencing toolset, ranging from the overt to the covert, primarily deployed across three arenas: political and economic elites, media and public opinion, and civil society and academia. In expanding its political influence, China takes advantage of the one-sided openness of Europe. Europe’s gates are wide open whereas China seeks to tightly restrict access of foreign ideas, actors and capital.

The effects of this asymmetric political relationship are beginning to show within Europe. European states increasingly tend to adjust their policies in fits of ‘preemptive obedience’ to curry favor with the Chinese side. Political elites within the European Union (EU) and in the European neighborhood have started to embrace Chinese rhetoric and interests, including where they contradict national and/or European interests. EU unity has suffered from Chinese divide and rule tactics, especially where the protection and projection of liberal values and human rights are concerned. Beijing also benefits from the ‘services’ of willing enablers among European political and professional classes who are happy to promote Chinese values and interests. Rather than only China trying to actively build up political capital, there is also much influence courting on the part of those political elites in EU member states who seek to attract Chinese money or to attain greater recognition on the global plane. [69]

In addition to political, economic, and cultural infiltration in Europe, the CCP has also engaged in various forms of espionage. On October 22, 2018, the French Le Figaro carried the headline “The revelations of Le Figaro on the Chinese spy program that targets France.” Through an exclusive series of special reports, Le Figaro revealed the CCP’s various espionage activities in France. This included how business social-networking websites, especially LinkedIn, were used to recruit French people to provide information to the CCP for the purpose of infiltrating France’s political, economic, and strategic realms, and for gaining extensive insider understanding in specific situations. The report also said that such cases are only the tip of the iceberg of the CCP’s espionage operations in France. [70] The CCP’s purpose is the large-scale plunder of sensitive information regarding the French state and its economic assets. Similar espionage activities have also taken place in Germany. [71]

From Chapter Eighteen
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(138)The CCP Uses Pivotal States to Secure Strategic Resources

Implementation of the Communist Party’s peripheral strategy involved first creating pivotal states, which are then used as a base for achieving strategic goals in the entire region. According to the Party’s think tanks, pivotal states are countries that have considerable regional power that Beijing has the capability and resources to guide; they have no direct conflicts with the CCP in terms of strategic interests, and don’t share close interests with the United States. [43] In addition to the aforementioned Australia, Kazakhstan, and others, examples of pivotal countries for the Chinese regime include Iran in the Middle East and Myanmar.

In the Middle East, Iran receives the greatest Chinese investment. Iran is an important oil producer in the region and has been in ideological opposition to the West since the late 1970s, making it a natural economic and military partner for the CCP. Beijing has maintained close economic and military relations with Iran since the 1980s.
In 1991, the International Atomic Energy Agency discovered that the CCP had exported uranium to Iran and that China and Iran had signed a secret nuclear agreement in 1990. [44] In 2002, when Iran’s uranium enrichment project was revealed, Western oil companies withdrew from the country, giving the CCP an opportunity to capitalize on the situation and cultivate closer relations with Iran. [45]

Bilateral trade volume between the CCP and Iran grew exponentially between 1992 and 2011, increasing by more than one hundred times in seventeen years, although there was significant slowdown due to pressure caused by international sanctions on the Iranian regime. [46] Due to the CCP’s assistance, Iran was able to weather the international isolation imposed on it and develop a broad arsenal of short- to medium-range ballistic missiles, as well as anti-ship cruise missiles. The Chinese also provided it with sea mines and fast attack craft, and helped Iran establish a covert chemical weapons project. [47]

Another pivotal state favored by the CCP regime is Myanmar, its neighboring country in South Asia. Myanmar has a long coastline, which provides strategic access to the Indian Ocean. The CCP regards the opening of a China-Myanmar channel as a strategic step to minimizing reliance on the Strait of Malacca. [48] The Burmese military government’s poor human rights record has caused it to be isolated by the international community. The 1988 democracy movement in Myanmar was ultimately crushed with military force. The following year, in Beijing, PLA tanks opened fire on pro-democracy demonstrators in Tiananmen Square.

The two authoritarian governments, both condemned by the international community, found a degree of solace in their diplomatic company and have since enjoyed close relations. In October 1989, Myanmar’s Than Shwe visited China, and the two sides signed a US$1.4 billion arms deal. [49] In the 1990s, there were again many arms deals between the two sides. Equipment the CCP has sold to Myanmar include fighter planes, patrol ships, tanks and armored personnel carriers, anti-aircraft guns, and rockets. [50] The CCP’s military, political, and economic support thus became the Burmese military junta’s lifeline in its struggle for continued survival. [51]

In 2013, the Chinese invested US$5 billion into the China-Myanmar crude oil and gas pipeline, said to be China’s fourth-largest strategic oil-and-gas import conduit. Although it met with strong popular opposition, in 2017, it went into operation with the backing of the CCP. [52] Similar investments include the Myitsone Dam (currently placed on hold due to local opposition) and the Letpadaung Copper Mine. In 2017, bilateral trade between China and Myanmar totaled $US13.54 billion. The CCP is currently planning to create a China-Myanmar economic corridor with 70 percent of the share held by the Chinese side. This includes a deep-water port for trade access to the Indian Ocean, [53] and the Kyaukpyu Special Economic Zone industrial park. [54]

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(137)Debt-Trapping Central Asia

Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the CCP has taken great efforts to develop and cement its relationship with Central Asian countries, like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. The goal of the CCP’s strategy in Central Asia can be viewed from several angles: For one, Central Asia is an unavoidable land route in China’s westward expansion. Further, when China constructs infrastructure to transport goods in and out of China, it can also expand its commercial interests in Central Asia. Secondly, China aims to seize the natural resources, including coal, oil, gas, and precious metals that are abundantly found in these countries. Thirdly, by controlling Central Asian countries that are geographically and culturally close to Xinjiang, China can tighten its control over ethnic minorities in Xinjiang.

Though the CCP has not announced its desire to dominate Central Asia, it has effectively taken up the most influential role in this region. The International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank, released a report in 2013 saying that China has been rapidly growing into an economically dominant power in this region by taking advantage of social unrest in Central Asia. Beijing sees Central Asia as a supply base of raw materials and resources and as a market for its low-priced, low-quality products. Meanwhile, the CCP has also poured millions of U.S. dollars into investment and aid in Central Asia in the name of maintaining stability in Xinjiang. [31]

A huge network of highways, railways, airways, communication, and oil pipelines has closely connected China with Central Asia. The China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and its contractors have been responsible for the construction of highways, railways, and electricity transmission lines in Central Asia. They pave roads on some of the most dangerous and complex terrain and construct new roads to transport China’s goods to Europe and the Middle East, as well as to ports in Pakistan and Iran. In the two decades between 1992 and 2012, of diplomatic relations between China and the five Central Asian countries, the total volume of trade between China and Central Asia grew one-hundredfold. [32]

In Central Asia, the CCP has promoted investments in large state-run, credit-financed infrastructure projects. Some scholars have realized that such investments would form the basis of a new international order in which China would play a dominant role. Seen from this perspective, Central Asia, like Australia, is another testing ground for the CCP’s conceptual revolution in diplomatic strategy. [33]

Beijing tends to support the corrupt authoritarian leaders of the Central Asian countries, and its opaque investment projects are considered beneficial primarily for the local social elites. The International Crisis Group’s report noted that each of the Central Asian governments is weak, corrupt, and fraught with social and economic unrest. [34] The large infrastructure projects promoted by Beijing are not only linked to massive loans, but also involve official approvals and permits, which are based on vested interests. This gives rise to and worsens the corruption in these regimes.

In Uzbekistan, Islam Karimov, the former first secretary of the Communist Party of the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic in the USSR, served as the country’s president from the time of independence in 1991 to his death in 2016. After the fall of the Soviet Union, Uzbekistan was under Karimov’s authoritarian rule for another quarter century. In 2005, government forces clashed with protesters in the eastern city of Andijan, resulting in hundreds of deaths. The CCP placed itself as a firm supporter of Karimov, rendering firm support as usual to Uzbekistan and other countries in this region in their efforts to safeguard the status quo. [35]

The fragile economic structures of Central Asian countries, in combination with massive infrastructure loans from China, leave these countries especially prone to falling into China’s debt trap. Turkmenistan is suffering from a severe economic crisis, with an annual inflation rate of over 300 percent, unemployment estimated at over 50 percent, severe food shortages, and rampant corruption. Now China is the only customer of Turkmen gas, [36] and also the largest creditor of its foreign debt, which stands at US$9 billion (estimated at 30 percent of GDP in 2018). [37] It’s possible that Turkmenistan had no choice but to give its natural gas fields to China to pay off its debt. [38] This country has put its economic arteries in Beijing’s hands.

Tajikistan borrowed more than US$300 million from China to build a power plant. Unable to pay its debt, the country transferred ownership of a gold mine to China in order to pay off the liabilities. [39]

The Kyrgyz economy is also in danger, as large-scale infrastructure projects carried out by the CCP there also caused it to fall into the debt trap. The country is likely to give part of its natural resources to pay debt. Kyrgyzstan also cooperated with Chinese communications companies Huawei and ZTE to build digital communication tools in order to tighten governmental control over people, while also leaving China a backdoor to extend its surveillance into these countries. [40]

Beijing took advantage of the power vacuum in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union to enter the Kazakh energy sector. The Kazakh economy depends on production of crude oil, and oil revenue in U.S. dollars is used to buy cheap Chinese products. Apart from oil drilling, this nation’s industrial foundation is fragile. With the flow of cheap Chinese products into its market, the Kazakh manufacturing industry collapsed. [41]

Another motive for the CCP’s expansion in Central Asia is to crack down on Uyghur dissidents living in Central Asia. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Charter signed by the China-led SCO allows suspects to be extradited to member countries. A member country can even send their own officials to another member country to conduct an investigation. In this way, the CCP extends its suppression of Uyghurs abroad and arrests Uyghur dissents who have taken refuge in other countries. [42]

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(136)The CCP Targets Pacific Island Nations for Their Strategic Value

Despite their size, Pacific island nations have the critical strategic value of being able to serve as maritime bases. Their total land area is just 53,000 square kilometers (20,463 square miles) compared with their exclusive economic zones (EEZ) over ocean, which measure 19,000,000 square kilometers (7,335,941 square miles) — an area over six times the size of China’s EEZs. Developing greater ties with Pacific island nations is a publicly acknowledged component of the CCP’s military strategy.

Currently, spheres of influence in the Pacific area are divided between the United States, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, and France. To develop its maritime capabilities in the Pacific Ocean, the CCP must first build good relations with the island nations, then slowly push out the U.S. presence. [27]

John Henderson, a New Zealand professor, and Benjamin Reilly, a professor in Australia, said that the CCP’s long-term goal in the South Pacific area is to take the place of America as the superpower there. [28] The CCP has invested immense amounts of money in Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia to assist these island nations in constructing infrastructure. It has promoted local tourism, and made e-business platforms available. It is outstripping American activity in the area. Ben Bohane, an Australian author, warned that America is losing influence over the Pacific Ocean to China. [29]

Following the CCP’s large-scale financial assistance and investment, the arrogant behavior of its officials reflects the real mentality of the CCP when it is strong and thinks highly of its abilities. It tries to treat the people of other nations the way it treats the Chinese people under its totalitarian control. The CCP’s goal is to demand obedience from countries of inferior strength. Naturally, the CCP cannot be expected to respect international regulations and protocol.

At the APEC summit held in late 2018 in Papua New Guinea, the rude and uncivilized behavior of Chinese officials shocked the locals and those in attendance. Chinese officials bluntly stopped journalists (including those of Papua New Guinea) from interviewing attendees at a forum held between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and leaders of the Pacific island nations. Instead, they demanded that all journalists refer to the Xinhua news release.

To prevent statements condemning the CCP regime’s unfair trade behavior from being written into a joint communique, Chinese officials demanded to meet the Papua New Guinea foreign minister. Since a private meeting with Chinese officials would affect his impartial stance, he turned down the request. Third, Chinese officials resorted to yelling and shouting at the summit when they accused other countries of plotting a scheme against China. One high-ranking U.S. official described the CCP officials’ behavior at APEC as “tantrum diplomacy.” [30]

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(135)The CCP’s so-called Great Periphery Diplomacy

What is the CCP’s so-called Great Periphery Diplomacy? Party think tanks define it like this: “China neighbors fourteen countries along a lengthy land border, and looks across the sea at six other neighboring countries. Beyond that, to the east is the Asia-Pacific region, and to the west is Eurasia. That is, the radial extent of China’s extended neighborhood covers two-thirds of international politics, economy, and security. Thus, the framework of periphery diplomacy is more than mere regional strategy. … It is a true grand strategy.” [8]

Australia Is the Weak Link of the Western World

In June 2017, Fairfax Media Limited and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation released the results of their five-month investigation, the documentary Power and Influence: The Hard Edge of China’s Soft Power. The documentary raised concerns around the world by describing the CCP’s widespread infiltration and control over Australian society. [9] Six months later, Sam Dastyari, a member of the Australian Labor Party, announced his resignation from the Senate. Dastyari’s resignation followed accusations that he had accepted money from CCP-linked Chinese merchants for making statements in support of Beijing regarding South China Sea territorial disputes. His statements on this critical issue clashed with the views of his own party. [10]

In September 2016, Australia’s SBS News published a news report revealing political donations by a Chinese businessman intended to influence Australia-China trade policies. [11] Furthermore, in recent years, Chinese state-run media outlets have signed contracts with Australian media, allowing them to broadcast content provided by Chinese media to Australian audiences. [12]

In fact, as early as 2015, Australia allowed a Chinese company with close ties to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to secure a ninety-nine-year lease over the Port of Darwin. The seaport occupies an important military location for guarding against attack from the north. Richard Armitage, a former U.S. deputy secretary of state, said he was stunned by the deal, and that the United States was concerned about the development. [13]

In 2017, a book called Silent Invasion: China’s Influence in Australia, by author Clive Hamilton was rejected three times by Australian publishers due to fear of Chinese repercussions. Finally, following much consideration, the third publisher agreed to publish it. The censorship elicited widespread concern among Australians about China’s influence in their country. [14]

Many more wonder why China has directed so much effort to Australia. What is the military strategic value of the CCP infiltrating Australia and exerting control there?

In December 2017, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) stated in its report Sharp Power: Rising Authoritarian Influence that the Chinese Communist Party is influencing and changing Australian politics and academia by means of bribery and infiltration for the main purpose of weakening the U.S.-Australia alliance. [15]

In its 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper, the Australian government said: “The United States has been the dominant power in our region throughout Australia’s post-Second World War history. Today, China is challenging America’s position.” [16] Dr. Malcolm Davis, senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said Beijing was trying to gain a strategic advantage in the Australian region to achieve its final goal of ending Australia’s alliance with the United States. [17]

Australia is the CCP regime’s testing ground for soft-power operations in its strategy of periphery diplomacy. [18] The CCP’s infiltration of Australia dates back to 2005, when Zhou Wenzhong, then deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, arrived in Canberra and informed senior officials at the Chinese Embassy of the CCP’s new diplomatic approach. He said that the first goal of including Australia in China’s greater periphery is to ensure that Australia will serve as a trustworthy and stable supply base for China’s economic growth in the next twenty years. The long-term goal is to pry apart the U.S.-Australia alliance. The mission of those present at the meeting was to understand how the CCP could broadly exert influence over Australia in the spheres of economics, politics, and culture. [19]

The CCP regime uses its economic strength to force Australia to make concessions on a series of military issues and human rights affairs. The standard approach adopted by the CCP to coerce others into cooperation is to cultivate personal relationships via economic interests and simultaneously create the implicit threat of blackmail. [20]

After years of investigation, Clive Hamilton found that “Australia’s major institutions — from our schools, colleges and professional associations to our media; from professions of mining, farming and tourism to military assets of ports and electrical networks; from our local parliaments and state governments to our Canberra parties — are being infiltrated and transformed by a complicated control system under the supervision of CCP.” [21]

After the 2008 economic crisis, in practice, Australia has proven willing to serve as the CCP’s supply base due to the common belief that the CCP rescued Australia from the recession. Hamilton says that the reason the CCP’s infiltration and influence can be so effective in Australia is that Australians “have allowed it to happen right under our noses, because we are blinded by the belief that only China can guarantee our economic prosperity, and because we dare not stand up against Beijing’s bullying.” [22]

Despite awareness of the CCP’s infiltration and influence on Western society, and particularly the CCP’s infiltration and control of overseas Chinese communities, most well-meaning Westerners naively imagined initially that the main purpose of the Party’s strategies was “negative” — that is, to silence the voices of critics and those with different political opinions. However, Hamilton says that behind the “negative” operations are the CCP’s “positive” ambitions: to use ethnic Chinese immigrants to change the frame of Australian society, and to have Westerners sympathize with the CCP so as to allow Beijing to build up influence. In this way, Australia would be transformed into the CCP’s helper in becoming an Asian, then global superpower. [23]

Similarly, the CCP is extending its infiltration and control from Australia to New Zealand. Anne-Marie Brady, an expert in Chinese politics at the University of Canterbury, released a report titled Magic Weapons, which takes New Zealand as an example to illustrate how the CCP extends its infiltration and political influence overseas. The report reveals that several Chinese-born members of New Zealand’s Parliament have close links with the CCP, and that many politicians have been bribed by massive political donations from rich Chinese merchants and CCP united-front organizations such as Chinese trade associations in New Zealand. [24] Shortly after her report was published, Dr. Brady’s college office was broken into. Before the break-in, she also received an anonymous letter threatening her with the words “You are the next one.” [25]

China is actively roping in New Zealand’s local politicians. For example, members of New Zealand political parties are lavished cordial treatment on trips to China. Retired politicians are offered high-paying positions in Chinese enterprises, as well as other benefits to have them follow the Party’s directives. [26]

From Chapter Eighteen
The Chinese Communist Party’s Global Ambitions

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