For decades, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been subverting the United States by infiltrating, undermining, and influencing its key institutions.
This topic is only recently coming to the surface. Vice President Mike Pence said on Oct. 4, “Beijing is employing a whole-of-government approach to advance its influence and benefit its interests.”
He added that the CCP is working to influence U.S. elections and domestic policies, and “today, the Chinese Communist Party is rewarding or coercing American businesses, movie studios, universities, think tanks, scholars, journalists, and local, state, and federal officials.”
Censorship and Theft in US BusinessWith the subversion of businesses, the CCP is forcing U.S. companies to abide by its domestic censorship programs.
There has also been plenty of chatter about Chinese economic theft. But did you know that some U.S. companies are forced to knowingly hand over intellectual property to access the Chinese market?
Subversion of Films and EntertainmentAs part of its focus on “culture warfare,” the CCP has also subverted Hollywood and the U.S. entertainment industry.
Films are screened by the CCP’s State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film, and Television, which decides whether they can be shown in China, and filmmakers are actively catering to the administration’s policies.
Some filmmakers are agreeing to co-produce films with the administration, which gives them a stronger chance of entering China, but also ensures the films fall under the CCP’s laws on films and censorship.
CCP laws on films include requirements, among many, that they need to have at least one scene shot in China, cast at least one Chinese actor, and illustrate “positive Chinese elements.”
Anything that shows the CCP’s human-rights abuses, poverty, totalitarian social monitoring, or other serious issues aren’t allowed to be shown. Under CCP censorship law, Hollywood also can’t show the United States or U.S. military in a positive light.
Influence of US Universities and EducationThrough financing, research partnerships, and other joint programs, the CCP has also managed to subvert American universities.
This money comes with a price, however, since the CCP takes its Faustian bargain as an opening for censorship and influence.
Foreign Policy, for instance, noted that the co-director of Savannah State University’s Confucius Institute has directly engaged in censoring information on Taiwan.
Then there are the Chinese Student and Scholar Associations (CSSA), which are often openly financed and directed by Chinese consulates. The CSSA pressure Chinese students and block events in American universities, based on CCP censorship programs.
It states, “Over the past two decades, PRC diplomats stationed in the United States have infringed on the academic freedom of American university faculty, students, administrators, and staff.”
The CCP has done this by “complaining to universities about invited speakers and events; pressuring and/or offering inducements to faculty whose work involves content deemed sensitive by the PRC authorities” and other methods, the report says.
Subverting Academia and PolicyAt think tanks, which have a role in shaping government policy, the CCP has made significant efforts to push its interests either through funding, through partnerships, or by influencing the academics involved.
Bill Gertz at The Washington Free Beacon reported on Aug. 24 that one of the CCP’s main overt spy agencies, the United Front Department, is actively involved in operations to influence think tanks in Washington.
The report says the CCP “has sought to influence academic discourse on China and, in certain instances, has infringed upon—and potentially criminally violated—rights to freedoms of speech and association that are guaranteed to Americans and those protected by U.S. laws.”
As an example, Gertz notes that Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies receives funding from Tung Chee-hwa, a vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, which directs the United Front Department.
“The funding for Johns Hopkins came from Tung’s non-profit group in Hong Kong, the China–U.S. Exchange Foundation, which is a registered Chinese agent,” he writes.
Gertz notes China ties exist with Brookings Institution, Atlantic Council, Center for American Progress, EastWest Institute, Carter Center, and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
When it comes to the academics themselves, the CCP actively pressures them to self-censor. Academics who break CCP censorship policy, including on the regime’s serious human-rights violations, risk being blacklisted from China.
Major news outlets are even actively promoting CCP propaganda, disguised as paid inserts meant to resemble legitimate news content from the CCP’s China Daily state-run news outlet.
Part of this was run through Xinhua news agency, which the Trump administration in September ordered to register as a foreign agent. Let that sink in: Foreign agents interested in shaping U.S. public opinion are paying major news outlets to republish propaganda.
This doesn’t just tie to CCP government policy. It also ties to its military doctrine, under its “Three Warfares” system of psychological warfare, legal warfare, and media warfare.
The goal of Three Warfares is to alter how people interpret information, create legal blockades to defend CCP actions, and control people’s exposure to information through its influence on media.
Foreign Agents and Political ControlIn addition to all these systems to control information, silence academics, influence policy, censor news outlets, and pressure students, the CCP also has programs to more directly influence U.S. political circles.
“Driven by its political goals, Chinese influence operations are a centerpiece of the PRC’s overall foreign policy and military strategy,” it states.
Gertz said in the story that the CCP’s efforts “have literally changed the direction of American foreign policy toward China.”
On the significance of this, it states, “Political warfare seeks to influence emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals in a manner favorable to one’s own political-military objectives.”