by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
China’s Communist Party is engaged in sophisticated global influence operations using money to buy supporters and deceive foreign audiences about Beijing’s rights abuses, experts told a congressional China commission on Wednesday.
“Attempts by the Chinese government to guide, buy, or coerce political influence and control discussion of ‘sensitive’ topics are pervasive, and pose serious challenges in the United States and our like-minded allies,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), co-chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.
Rubio identified one party organ known as the United Front Work Department that is a key agency engaged in influence operations in China and abroad.
The party bolstered the department in 2014, calling it China’s “magic weapon” charged with promoting a positive view of China abroad and exporting its authoritarian model.
Three specialists on Chinese information operations testified at the commission hearing that China is buying influence around the world using its extensive financial resources, while silencing critics of the Communist Party of China and its dictatorial system.
The experts said that unlike Russia during the last election there were no signs Beijing sought to influence the 2016 presidential election.
China, however, did seek to buy a New York City building last year owned by the family of President Trump’s son-in-law and key adviser Jared Kushner.