For the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the 2020 presidential election in the United States was always a life and death struggle.
For the first time in decades, a U.S. administration had confronted the CCP’s subversion and infiltration of the United States, curtailing its expanding global influence.
The CCP made clear through its state-run media that it favored a presidency under Democratic Party candidate Joe Biden, because he would be “smoother” to deal with than President Donald Trump.
Beijing interfered in the 2020 election in multiple ways, and the regime was able to do this because it has, for decades, studied our society and form of government. It has systematically exploited all weaknesses in our system.
Here we provide an overview of some key methods the CCP used to influence the election:
Using the Virus to Weaken America
The CCP covered up the spread of the CCP virus in Wuhan, allowing it to spread throughout China and the rest of the world. Trump defied early WHO recommendations and, on Jan. 31 last year, banned all travel from China. Chinese state media, as well as U.S. media and politicians, portrayed Trump’s move as “racist” and “xenophobic.” State-media Xinhua wrote on Twitter on March 16, “Racism is not the right tool to cover your own incompetence.” As the pandemic progressed, both Chinese state media and U.S. media continuously attacked Trump and his administration, accusing them of being incapable. Meanwhile, left-leaning politicians and governors in the United States adopted Chinese-style lockdowns of cities, which brought local economies to a halt.
Mail-In Ballots as a Result of CCP Virus
As a result of the CCP covering up the initial outbreak, the virus spread around the world and sparked a global pandemic. Due to pandemic-related precautions, many states expanded the use of mail-in ballots. This type of voting, which is prone to fraud, would become the focal point of voter fraud allegations in the fallout of the 2020 election.
Voter Registration Drives
The Chinese Progressive Association has close ties to the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco. Many of its former executives, as well as other pro-Beijing leftists, are now involved with the “Seed the Vote” initiative. The goal of the group was to defeat Trump and win more Democratic seats in the U.S. Senate. Their activities specifically targeted seven swing states: Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.
Pro-Beijing Groups Involved in Riots
Pro-CCP group Chinese Progressive Association funds the Black Futures Lab, which shares a principal organizer with the Black Lives Matter movement. Many of the protests and riots that swept across U.S. cities in 2020 had the involvement of pro-CCP groups, such as the Freedom Road Socialist Organization and Liberation Road, as well as Antifa and the BLM movement. One of the effects of the riots was a weakening of the president’s authority in the country as well as intimidation of his supporters. After the Nov. 3 election, amid challenges raised to the election results, the threat of similar riots resulted in the intimidation of state legislatures, lawmakers, and judges. After Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) announced that he would oppose the Electoral College vote in Congress, Antifa members threatened his family at their Washington home.
Chinese Influence Over US Politicians
For decades, the CCP has sought to subvert and control politicians, policymakers, and influencers in academia. One such case came to the surface when it was revealed that Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) had close ties to an alleged Chinese spy. The CCP uses a wide variety of incentives and disincentives to persuade U.S. policymakers to do its bidding, and it ranks all U.S. governors according to how friendly or hostile they are to the CCP. In Georgia, a key battleground state, the governor has maintained friendly ties with Chinese dignitaries. In April last year, Li Qiangmin, then Chinese consul general in Houston, was invited to an event hosted by the governor, where Li praised him for “proactively pushing for cooperation with China,” according to a press release by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. China has been Georgia’s largest trading partner for the past five years.
CCP Virus Propaganda Campaign
In February 2020, as the CCP virus spread around the world, Beijing started a large-scale propaganda campaign that sought to portray the CCP as a global leader in fighting the pandemic. Authorities simultaneously bought up protective equipment from the United States and other countries, and halted exports of Chinese-manufactured medical goods. As COVID-19 cases increased in the United States, the CCP actively portrayed the United States as a disaster zone with large numbers of deaths, while simultaneously covering up China’s own death toll. Beijing’s propaganda sought to portray the CCP as a savior of humanity, while casting doubt on Americans’ confidence in Trump’s leadership. This narrative was amplified by Chinese state media, as well as paid articles in U.S. media.
Chinese Parts in US Voting Machines
Voting system manufacturers use Chinese-manufactured parts. Using Chinese parts makes the machines vulnerable to hacking, exemplified by past examples of Chinese-made electronics containing backdoors in either the hardware or firmware. Due to a lack of forensic audits of voting systems, it remains unclear at this point whether any potential backdoors were used by China to access U.S. voting machines. Voting machine companies have denied that their systems are vulnerable to hacking. Also, any device connected to the internet on the same WiFi system as voting equipment poses a hacking risk. In Georgia, Jovan Hutton Pulitzer, an inventor and IT expert, raised concerns about devices such as a “cheap Chinese smart TV with WiFi” or a thermostat connected to the internet that creates vulnerabilities in the entire system.
Use of Social Media to Influence Election
Facebook in September shut down more than 180 fake Facebook accounts, groups, and pages, and Instagram accounts, that the company determined to be run in China. These accounts had posted content on the U.S. presidential election and spread Beijing’s talking points on a range of topics, from the South China Sea to the Hong Kong democracy protests. The U.S. social media giant announced the takedown in a blog post published on Sept. 22, saying that these accounts were in violation of its rule against “coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a foreign or government entity.”
Use of Political Warfare
The CCP has deployed political warfare to covertly influence free societies around the world, as a top U.S. State Department official warned less than a week before the Nov. 3 election. The regime “wants control, or at least veto power, over public discourse and political decisions the world over,” David Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said. The CCP accomplishes this through a wide array of malign activities that are “covert, coercive, and corrupting.” These activities are dubbed by the CCP as “United Front work” but better understood in the West as political warfare, Stilwell said.
Spread of Propaganda
Chinese state-controlled media, including those operating in the United States, spread the regime’s propaganda on its behalf. These media made it explicit that they supported a Biden presidency over Trump. State-run outlet Global Times, for example, published an article on Aug. 19 that suggested that Biden would be “smoother” for the regime to deal with than Trump. And when the U.S. vice presidential debate was broadcast in China on Oct. 7, state-run media censored the discussion of sensitive topics related to China, in an effort to manipulate public opinion and push Beijing’s narrative. Meanwhile, China Daily, in many English-language articles, such as one headlined “Virus Surge Sharpens Choice for US Voters,” sought to amplify Biden’s platform on containing the pandemic, while portraying Trump’s CCP virus policies as incompetent.
During the first six months of 2020, Customs and Border Protection agents seized nearly 20,000 fake driver’s licenses, most of them from China. It is unclear how many fake IDs may have been sent to the United States from China and gone undetected. Fake IDs can be used for a wide variety of purposes, including voter fraud.
Influencing the Vote of Chinese-Americans
Part of the focus of China’s United Front Work Department is on developing ties with Chinese fraternal organizations, which work as unofficial representative bodies of overseas Chinese communities. The CCP maintains close relations or direct control over many such groups. These groups influence who their members, which in some cases amount to tens of thousands, vote for.
Influence Over US Media
The CCP has worked for years to increase its influence over U.S. media organizations. Each year, Chinese state-owned media spend millions of dollars to insert their propaganda into publications such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. A recent list published by the National Pulse based on FARA filings shows most major U.S. media organizations received “familiarization trips” and “private dinners” from a group that is part of the CCP’s United Work Front.