A recent report by a U.S. political research group presents a large network of Chinese Communist Party influence that is throughout the world, infiltrating government organizations and democratic institutions.
The Washington-based group was founded in 1983 and aims to strengthen civil society, political parties, and shore up democracy in weak regions. With profound changes occurring globally since the onset of the pandemic and a war raging in Europe, the Chinese Communist Party has been pushing forward on new fronts and taking advantage of the opportunities that have arisen.
The International Republican Institute set out to analyze the influence of the CCP and its tactics in 12 countries to see the impact on democracy and governance.
One of the most important points of the report is the continuing infiltration of democratic governments in countries where the CCP has the most influence.
The case of Italy
Italy has a strategic position highly coveted by the Chinese regime. The country was the first in Europe to sign one of the CCP’s most emblematic agreements, the Belt and Road, the Chinese infrastructure project that it aims to deploy worldwide and push aside the United States.
How did the CCP make headway in Italy? Financial contributions and acquisitions in companies in key industries, such as Fiat-Chrysler, Telecom, Generali and Mediobanca, opened the doors to initiate ties with the country’s business elite. According to research by the Pew Research Center conducted in 2014, positive public opinion of China even increased by 14%.
The kick-start for a greater rapprochement of the CCP in Italy’s political and democratic order was through left-leaning Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, who was the only G-7 leader to attend a Belt and Road summit in Beijing in 2017. After that summit, the CCP had access to the Mediterranean country’s most important ports, with the promise of considerable investment to improve infrastructure. From there, the CCP moved closer to local rulers, and signed more agreements within the framework of the Belt and Road.
With haste and without pause, the CCP continued to extend its influence in large Italian companies, such as Pirelli, which was bought by a Chinese state-owned company. It shrewdly approached the populist 5 Star Movement party through the Chinese company Huawei.
With the political changes that Italy went through in recent years, and the consequent power shifts, the CCP also kept making inroads in the country. The last Italian Prime Minister,Mario Draghi, who showed some signs of slowing down the CCP stampede in the country, was recently accused of having received $75.49 million from the Chinese regime as a bribe for the government to approve a purchase of Chinese masks during the pandemic.
The case of Mexico
Another of the countries studied by the North American group was Mexico. Trade relations between China and Mexico intensified after the Asian country joined the World Trade Organization and became the second most important market after the United States. Xi Jinping and President Enrique Peña Nieto sought more cooperation and investment agreements, however, the Mexican business elite is not so open to the CCP, as the country’s largest trading partner is the United States. Mexican businessmen know that they put the most relevant market for the country at stake if they get too close to the CCP.
With the change in presidents, Andrés López Obrador showed some reluctance in deepening ties with the CCP. In 2021, in the framework of the North American Leaders’ Summit, he said, “If the trend of the last decade continues, in another 30 years, by 2051, China would dominate 42% of the world market and the U.S., Mexico, and Canada would be left with 12%, which besides being an unacceptable disproportion in the economic field, would keep alive the temptation to bet on resolving this disparity with the use of force, which would endanger us all, that is why the best thing is to strengthen our economies.”
However, despite Obrador pointing out the dangers of Chinese advance for the global market, as of 2019, China’s investment agreements in Mexican infrastructure and companies were on the rise. An example of this is the well-known “Tren Maya” project, which required an investment of $626 million and was led by a Mexican corporation associated with a state-owned Chinese company under the control of the CCP.
The case of Indonesia
In Indonesia, the approach used by the CCP not only included large investments in infrastructure, but it also intervened in the country’s culture, education, and media.
One of the CCP’s interests is to reintroduce the Chinese language into Indonesian society. To this end it attempted to meddle in the national media, establishing contact with journalists and inviting them to travel for international conventions and training in China. The CCP’s objective behind this is not to promote Chinese culture and the Chinese language in a foreign country, but rather to influence the media to broadcast the regime’s news and its own communist culture.
An example that reflects the true intentions of the CCP in Indonesia is the agreement with The Jakarta Post, which publishes news from the Chinese state-owned China Daily. In addition, repeaters of China Radio International were established on local stations. Another example is ByteDance, a Chinese content platform, which censored comments by Indonesian citizens against the communist regime. All of these Chinese media and content platforms are under the control of the Chinese Communist Party, directly, with a commission of Party members appointed.
The countries investigated by IRI for this report were Brazil, Italy, Indonesia, El Salvador, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey, Mexico, South Africa, Solomon Islands, Zimbabwe, Armenia and Kiribati.
The CCP wants world dominance, will it succeed?
In conclusion, the report shows several of the tactics employed by the Chinese Communist Party to infiltrate the political and governmental structures of 12 countries, some are world powers, others are smaller, or developing. The strategy used may vary from country to country, however, the means frequently employed are large sums of money in infrastructure, bribes to politicians, and media partnerships to control public opinion. The ultimate goal is not only to create influence, but to also create dependence on CCP in order to achieve world dominance over the United States.
The CCP not only wants to dominate and insert itself in the governments of the world, it also intends to establish its model of socialist thinking with Chinese characteristics. Moreover, the Party is very interested in improving its image and attaches great importance to what people in the world think about it. Otherwise, why spend so much money on tapping foreign media to broadcast its propaganda? Why use so many resources on meddling in the educational systems of countries to “strengthen China” through its language? Moreover, the Chinese language that the CCP wants to promote so much is not the traditional language of China, but a modified language, diminished in meaning, that is, it is the consequence of cultural manipulation by the CCP itself.
The influence of the CCP is growing globally and this is not only aimed at governments and companies, but also individuals. The CCP not only wants to hold the Chinese in the palm of its hand, the whole world is its ambitious goal, and every person in it.