Canadian Policy Institute report exposes China’s vast influence operations across the world

DHARAMSALA, Nov 8: Censorship, propaganda, bribery, intimidation are just a few tools used by the Chinese Communist Party  to penetrate into the political, social, and economic systems of target countries in order to align them with authoritarian interests, says a meticulous, courageous, and damning policy report published by the Canadian Policy Institute.

China’s Communist regime has blurred the lines between soft and sharp power in political warfare to undermine the democratic world order, the Epoch Times reported citing the policy report by the non-partisan Macdonald-Laurier Institute (MLI), an Ottawa, Canada, think tank report titled The Hard Edge of Sharp Power: Understanding China’s Influence Operations Abroad.

According to the report, to destabilize foreign institutions China is reported to have often used the Chinese diaspora – including chambers of commerce, cultural associations, Buddhist temples, and Chinese students while pursuing its influence operations worldwide contrary to popular belief, Beijing’s chief foreign-relations objective is a sphere of influence, not commercial gain, let alone a happy get-along-well together.

In several cases, operations were directed or facilitated by local Chinese embassies or consulates, such as when Chinese students and expatriates were called upon to mobilize and protest against universities for inviting “enemies” and critics of the CCP, such as the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, Taiwanese officials, or beauty queens who practice the Falun Gong spirituality, the report noted.

“We are only in the beginning phase of understanding the nature and scope of China’s sharp power challenge. Simply put, we have failed to pay enough attention to China over the years, or believed, as many did, that engagement would eventually turn the regime into a more liberal, if not democratic, partner in global affairs,” J. Michael Cole, a Taipei-based security analyst and editor in chief of the Taiwan Sentinel has said in the 32-page Canadian Policy Institute report he had authored.

According to J. Michael Cole, China’s sophisticated strategy to destabilize foreign institutions are primarily centred around Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States, in addition to Hong Kong and Taiwan.

China, the report said aims to promote its interests, export the “China Model” of government, increase the legitimacy of the Chinese government abroad, and in some cases, even support the Chinese military in the targeted countries.

Although Confucius Institutes and firms such as Huawei and ZTE have come under greater scrutiny in the West in recent months, a constellation of other organizations continues to operate with little if any attention being paid to the nefarious impact of their actions,  the report said.

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