Through Military-Civil Fusion, China Allies With Russia on Ukraine War

Through Military-Civil Fusion, China Allies With Russia on Ukraine War
Emergency workers clear rubble after a Russian rocket hit a multistory building, leaving many people under debris in the southeastern city of Dnipro, Ukraine, on Jan. 14, 2023. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP Photo)
Jessica Mao
News Analysis

The Russian government recently claimed that NATO’s entire satellite network and military infrastructure are supporting Ukraine in the ongoing war. At the same time, as the anniversary of the Russia–Ukraine war approaches, Chinese leader Xi Jinping is said to be planning a visit to Moscow, signaling closer ties between the two countries.

On Feb. 1, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, “We see how NATO’s entire military infrastructure is working against Russia.” Moscow believes all of NATO’s military infrastructure, even satellites, is supporting Ukraine day and night, he said, adding that these operations create “very peculiar, hostile” conditions for Russia.
Now that the Russia–Ukraine war is in its 11th month, space capabilities are playing a central role as never before. The collective satellite capabilities of NATO members provide considerable advantages to the Ukrainian military and supporting armed forces, including rapid provision of targeting data for missile and artillery strikes. These strikes have caused significant damage to the Russian military, and as the United States begins to provide long-range missiles, they could become even more dangerous.

Xi’s State Visit Signals Closer Ties

Concurrently, China and Russia are strengthening their collaboration as the anniversary of the Russia–Ukraine war nears.
On Jan. 30, Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced that Xi Jinping will visit Moscow this spring. The upcoming state visit will be the “top priority of bilateral relations in 2023,” the Foreign Ministry said.

U.S.-based China affairs expert Lan Shu told The Epoch Times he believes there could be two reasons for Xi’s visit to Russia at this time.

First, the CCP may be trying to increase its bargaining power during U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s upcoming visit to China.

That visit was indefinitely postponed just hours before Blinken’s scheduled departure for Beijing on Feb. 5, due to an intrusion into U.S. airspace by a Chinese spy balloon. The CCP has acknowledged that the balloon belonged to China.

Second, Xi may wish to make a public statement to the world in support of Russia.

Lan suggested that after a year of the Russia–Ukraine war, China may be taking a more open and hawkish stance against the West in its move to align itself with Putin’s Russia.

CCP-backed Enterprise Supports Russian Military

On Jan. 26, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Chinese satellite manufacturer Spacety China for providing assistance to the Wagner Group, a Russian paramilitary organization, in the war between Russia and Ukraine.

The Wagner Group, which has recently been designated by the United States as a transnational criminal organization, has provided tens of thousands of mercenaries to the Russian military in the Russia–Ukraine war.

An independent investigation conducted by The Epoch Times revealed that Spacety China, an ostensibly private company, has deep ties to the CCP’s military. It is part of communist China’s military-industrial complex.

The small satellite manufacturer, also known as Tianyi Research Institute, has offices in Beijing and Luxembourg. According to a U.S. Treasury Department statement, Spacety China provided Russian technology company Terra Tech with synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite images of Ukraine. The images were collected to enable the Wagner Group to conduct combat operations in Ukraine.

Spacety China’s website shows that it has deep ties to a number of the CCP’s military-industrial enterprises. The company’s major business partners include the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALVT), which is the major research and development institution for the CCP military’s missiles. Other “business partners” of Spacety China include the CCP’s defense contractors in space and satellite technologies, as well as several major universities directly linked to the CCP’s military research projects.

Spacety China: the CCP’s Trojan Horse

Lan Shu stressed that the CCP’s approach to civil-military integration (CMI) is totally different from that of Western countries.

In Western countries, CMI is generally a way for defense and civilian industries to work together to develop technologies. Advancements in military technology can be transferred to civilian use, meeting both defense and commercial needs. Conversely, technology advances in the commercial sphere benefit the military, and may be aimed to fulfill specific goals as the military makes known its needs.

This is seen in the United States, as the U.S. military has forged closer ties to the private sector, acknowledging that much of today’s breakthrough technology is coming from commercial sources.

China, on the other hand, lacks the level of technology and personnel to meet the CCP’s defense goals. Therefore, the CCP has created its own version of CMI, which it calls “military-civil fusion.”

The CCP aims to use military-civil fusion to build the most technologically advanced military in the world. However, according to the U.S. State Department, “The CCP is implementing this strategy, not just through its own research and development efforts, but also by acquiring and diverting the world’s cutting-edge technologies—including through theft— in order to achieve military dominance.” (pdf)
The CCP’s military-civil fusion involves partnerships between Chinese tech companies and academic research institutions and Western universities and research institutes, with the goal of stealing technology wanted by the CCP. Those technologies are then transferred to the CCP’s military.

Connecting the Dots

Like Spacety China, Russia’s Wagner Group operates under the guise of a private company. However, its management and operations are closely tied to the Russian military and intelligence community. It has about 50,000 troops in Ukraine.

China’s “private tech companies” function similarly. These companies may look like private enterprises, but they do not mirror U.S. military-industrial corporations such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon. Instead, the CCP uses them as Trojan horses to infiltrate and steal critical military technologies from the West.

Understanding Chinese thinking on military-civil fusion, and examining the ties between Spacety China and the CCP military, and between Wagner Group and Putin’s military, it is easy to connect the dots: the Chinese regime is in fact directly supporting Russia in the ongoing Russia–Ukraine war.