Propaganda, ‘United Front Tactics’ Are CCP’s ‘Magic Weapons’ Against US: Steven Mosher

By Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska
Reporter
Ella Kietlinska is a reporter for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S. and world politics.
and Joshua Philipp
Joshua Philipp
Joshua Philipp
Joshua Philipp is an award-winning investigative reporter with The Epoch Times and host of EpochTV's "Crossroads" program. He is a recognized expert on unrestricted warfare, asymmetrical hybrid warfare, subversion, and historical perspectives on today’s issues. His 10-plus years of research and investigations on the Chinese Communist Party, subversion, and related topics give him unique insight into the global threat and political landscape.
February 6, 2022 Updated: February 11, 2022

The three “magic weapons” possessed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) are propaganda, “united front tactics,” and the Chinese military—ranked in that order, according to Steven Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute.

“United front tactics, propaganda efforts always precede military action, and in some cases, they make military action unnecessary,” Mosher told EpochTV’s “Crossroads.”

The “magic weapons” concept was invented by former CCP leader Mao Zedong and was successfully used by the CCP during the Chinese Civil War, which was fought between the Chinese Nationalist Party Kuomintang led by Chiang Kai-shek and the CCP under Mao, according to Mosher.

The war, lasting intermittently between 1927 and 1949, was won by the CCP, which established the most brutal totalitarian communist regime on earth: the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

During the war, the CCP always advanced first—not militarily, but by using a massive propaganda barrage in the nationalist areas, in which they placed stories favorable to the Party, softening up the opposition in those areas and creating an opening for the CCP, according to Mosher.

Then, the CCP moved into political organizations and entities of nationalist China, taking them over by using united front tactics.

“Then from those bridgeheads, from those stepping stones, then moving into control of the largest society, and oftentimes, military action not only came last—it came after the battle had essentially been won by these other two magic weapons: propaganda and united front tactics,” Mosher said.

According to a 2018 report by the U.S.–China Economic and Security Review Commission, the Chinese regime uses united front work to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the CCP’s policies and authority.

“The CCP’s United Front Work Department (UFWD)—the agency responsible for coordinating these kinds of influence operations—mostly focuses on the management of potential opposition groups inside China, but it also has an important foreign influence mission,” the report reads.

CCP leader Xi Jinping also talked about these three magic weapons in the same order several years ago, according to Mosher.

“Everyone’s paying attention to the buildup in the People’s Liberation Army [the Chinese military], which is real and which is frightening,” he said. “But preceding that is this even more important buildup in propaganda efforts. … And then, of course, there’s the united front tactics.”

One of the propaganda arms of the Chinese Communist Party that effectively operates on U.S. soil is a radio station located near Washington that broadcasts news and information at all times to the most important audience—at least in terms of public policy in the United States—the audience in and around the nation’s capital.

“The United States does not have a comparable radio station in and around Beijing, broadcasting news and information from the Voice of America or Radio Free Asia or stories from The Epoch Times into China,” Mosher said. “So this is a very one-sided effort.”

Among other means of the CCP’s propaganda are advertisements placed in major publications in the United States, he said.

Epoch Times Photo
A human rights group urges Tufts University to close its Confucius Institute in Somerville, Mass., on March 13, 2021. (Learner Liu/The Epoch Times)

One of the united front tactics is the establishment of Confucius Institutes within the body of academia in the United States and around the world, said Mosher, author of the book “Bully of Asia: Why China’s Dream is the New Threat to World Order.”

Confucius Institutes seize control of the institutions within which they operate, at least in terms of dictating what they can talk about, and what they’re forbidden to talk about in regards to China, the author said.

Since 2004, more than 100 Confucius Institutes have opened in universities across the United States, although this number has diminished in recent years.

These institutes, many offering for-credit courses in Chinese language and culture, are largely staffed and funded by an agency of the Chinese government’s Ministry of Education, known as the Hanban, according to a report by the National Association of Scholars.

“Official Hanban policy requires Confucius Institutes to adhere to Chinese law, including speech codes. Chinese teachers hired by, paid by, and accountable to the Chinese government face pressures to avoid sensitive topics, and American professors report pressure to self-censor,” the report said.

Mosher said, “Confucius Institutes, for example, have enabled the suppression of discussion of the persecution of the Falun Gong … the discussion of the Uyghur genocide, of the oppression of Tibet, of the freedom that people enjoy on Taiwan, and of the ongoing suppression of the democracy movement in Hong Kong.

“A free society which prizes the free flow of information, freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of association is particularly vulnerable to these first two magic weapons.

“If you lose the battle for the hearts and minds of the people, and if you lose control of some of your major institutions in a free country like the United States, the third magic weapon is almost unnecessary because you’ve already surrendered your minds and your institutions to the Chinese Communist Party.

“It’s a battle that we are not very well equipped to fight at this present moment.”

Main Perils to CCP’s Rule

The two main perils the CCP perceives as a threat to its rule are an accurate discussion of the history and the ideology of the CCP itself, Mosher said.

Epoch Times Photo
A Chinese man stands alone to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing’s Avenue of Eternal Peace during the Tiananmen Square massacre on June 5, 1989. (Jeff Widener/AP Photo)

At the time of the Tiananmen demonstrations in 1989, “a new generation of Chinese were disillusioned by their experience and the experience of their parents and grandparents under communism—which has killed tens of millions of Chinese over the decades—disillusioned by the Cultural Revolution, with its massive destruction of traditional Chinese culture and traditional Chinese views,” he said.

There was a hope “that in recoiling against that, they would come to admire and emulate the West and that the Chinese Communist Party would collapse under its own weight as people fled the party, as millions of people resigned from the party in the early 90s,” he said.

“Yet in reaction, the Chinese Communist Party, which was shocked by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, decided to embark on a massive propaganda exercise putting in place in the schools—basically kindergarten through college—national-patriotic education programs. And they were able to stave off collapse.”

The CCP increasingly moved toward totalitarian control of China, and continues doing so to the present day, Mosher said.

Nanotechnology scientist Charles Lieber, former chairman of Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, was co-opted around 2012 into the Thousand Talents Plan, the CCP’s well-financed job recruitment program, for one reason only—he was successfully implanting microchips in the brains of laboratory rats and mice, the expert said.

In Mosher’s opinion, the CCP would be interested in that technology because it wants to control the very thoughts of the Chinese people.

Epoch Times Photo
Software engineers work on a facial recognition program that identifies people when they wear a face mask at the development lab of the Chinese electronics manufacturer Hanwang (Hanvon) Technology in Beijing on March 6, 2020. (Thomas Peter/Reuters)

Although the CCP using microchips in the brain to control people “may be fairly far off,” the regime has been using “artificial intelligence to track people, their actions, their thoughts, their purchases with the goal of trying to control [people’s] very thoughts,” Mosher said.

Out of the 20 cities in the world with the highest density of surveillance cameras per capita, the top 19 of those cities are located in China, the expert noted, adding that 24/7 surveillance on social media has also been used by the CCP.

Some people in the West realized that people who control high tech or run the largest investment firms on Wall Street that invest heavily in China “have come to admire, and even want to emulate the Chinese system,” Mosher said.

“We’re a long way from replicating the Chinese social credit system in the United States in one sense. And yet, in another sense, we see that we have our own battalions of censors monitoring the internet.

“In China, it’s done by the state. … [Here] it’s being done by nominally private companies. And yet those private companies seem to be very, very closely tied to the current administration.

“We are moving all too rapidly in the direction of becoming like China.”

Cathy He and Mimi Nguyen Ly contributed to this report.

Ella Kietlinska
Ella Kietlinska is a reporter for The Epoch Times focusing on U.S. and world politics.
Joshua Philipp is an award-winning investigative reporter with The Epoch Times and host of EpochTV's "Crossroads" program. He is a recognized expert on unrestricted warfare, asymmetrical hybrid warfare, subversion, and historical perspectives on today’s issues. His 10-plus years of research and investigations on the Chinese Communist Party, subversion, and related topics give him unique insight into the global threat and political landscape.