China’s Influence Over US Goes Way Beyond Universities

December 29, 2021 Updated: December 29, 2021

Commentary

Some prominent Americans believe that China quite literally controls the United States, the most powerful country in the world. Does the Chinese Communist Party (CCPemploy Manchurian candidates to manipulate the masses? Yes, but not necessarily in the United States.

The CCP’s manipulation of American minds occurs in subtler ways. Although the strings being pulled are imperceptible, even invisible, the effects of the CCP’s can be felt across the country.

In a recent piece, I discussed the many ways in which the CCP uses U.S. universities to further its nefarious agendas. However, the CCP’s influence extends far beyond the gated institutions of academia.

On some of the biggest social media platforms on the planet—including the likes of YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok—Beijing’s influence is palpable. The CCP uses all three platforms to spread harmful propaganda. Not surprisingly, much of this propaganda involves the United States, its biggest rival.

To paraphrase Edward Bernays, an American pioneer in the field of public relations and propaganda, “the conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses” is much easier than many imagine. “Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”

Many of these men (and women) are employed by the CCP. Beijing enlists highly influential influencers, both in China and abroad (including the United States), all in the hope of creating CCP-friendly narratives.

According to Eric Liu, a former content moderator for Chinese social media, “China is the new super-abuser that has arrived in global social media.” The goal here “is not to win,” he argues, “but to cause chaos and suspicion until there is no real truth.” This includes pushing the crazy theory that COVID-19 actually originated in Maine rather than Wuhan. It also includes criticizing the United States for its inherent racism and glaring levels of inequality. Of course, the famous idiom involving a pot and a kettle instantly springs to mind. The CCP, however, cares little about hypocrisy. Lies and propaganda is what it specializes in selling. As authorities in Beijing continue to distract the world with utter nonsense, they continue to destroy countries like Tibet and erase civil liberties in Hong Kong.

Epoch Times Photo
A screenshot of China Global Television Network’s (CGTN) cartoon video, created in September 2020, to promote Critical Race Theory to American parents and children. (Screenshot via The Epoch Times)

The CCP’s US-based Enablers

On Dec. 15, the NFL released a rather strange looking map, choosing to include Taiwan as part of China. Why? Because it happens to be the designated international home market for the Los Angeles Rams. The NFL, it seems, is beholden to Beijing. All in the name of money, of course. The map prompted the rather clever line, “NFL takes a knee for China.” A clever line, no doubt, but there is nothing funny about the NFL’s subservience to the CCP. It’s dangerous—extremely so. Two-thirds of American adults say they follow the NFL. Too bad, then, that the NFL follows the Chinese regime.

Not content with influencing the United States’ biggest sports organizations, the CCP also holds considerable power over one of the country’s most esteemed magazines. Established in 1917, Forbes Media is as American as apple pie. Although the Forbes family has a stake in the media enterprise, it’s majority-owned by Integrated Whale Media Investments, an investment group that appears to have close ties to Beijing. Earlier this year, things got considerably shadier when Magnum Opus Acquisition, a Chinese special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), took over Forbes magazine.

SPACs, for the initiated, are particularly interesting. And, for anyone interested in the importance of maintaining checks and balances, particularly worrying. As the financial guru Brad Packard has written, SPACs allow private companies to “bypass the traditional IPO process, which is long, volatile, and imposes significant regulatory burdens.” In other words, SPAC deals help companies circumvent tricky legal issues and necessary background checks.

Not surprisingly, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has raised some concerns about SPACs. These concerns revolve around the lack of disclosure requirements for actual SPAC ownership. This is an area that the Biden administration must address because the CCP appears to be exploiting it.

Not that long ago, Forbes was a highly respectable outlet, known for publishing informative, insightful pieces. Alas, those days are long gone. Today, the self-labeled “source for reliable news” regularly runs pieces that encourage its readers, many of whom are influential millionaires and billionaires, to consider or reconsider investing in China. The CCP, we’re told, should be lauded for its vaccine diplomacy. Rather conveniently, the author of this particular piece did not discuss one rather important fact: Chinese vaccines have proven to be ineffective.

I reached out to Forbes for comment, asking specifically if the media outlet’s link to China affects its ability to report the news in an accurate manner. Laura Brusca, the VP of Corporate Communications, responded.

“To answer your question: No,” she said. “There is absolutely nothing interfering with Forbes’ editorial independence or affecting Forbes’ editorial decisions.”

Call me a skeptic, but I have my doubts. The motto of Forbes magazine is “Change the World.” Perhaps it’s time for an upgrade. My suggestion: “Change the World in Beijing’s Image.”

Sadly, a number of prominent U.S. organizations are only too eager to assist the CCP in its effort to reshape the global narrative.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. His work has been published, among others, by the New York Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, Newsweek, National Review, and The Spectator US. He covers psychology and social relations, and has a keen interest in social dysfunction and media manipulation.