A report recently published by the French Military School Strategic Research Institute (IRSEM) has exposed the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) worldwide influence over governments.
The report, 646 pages long, took two years to complete, with contributions from at least 50 researchers.
It is titled “Chinese Influence Operations: A Machiavellian Moment,” authored by Dr. Paul Charon and Dr. Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer at the Institute for Strategic Research (IRSEM), an esteemed military school in France, an organization under the umbrella of the French Ministry of Armed Forces.
It has lifted the veil with a detailed report on the “United Front,” the CCP has utilized to exert control over overseas Chinese, the media, economy, education, culture, think tanks, and politics.
Specifically targeting overseas Chinese
Any Chinese outside China become a specific target of the CCP. Anyone with a different opinion to the regimes, including dissidents. The main groups targeted are minorities and faith groups, including Falun Gong, Tibetans, Uighurs, and Inner Mongolians. All dissidents in Taiwan, including advocates of democracy, human rights activists, journalists, and officials wanted by the CCP for “corruption.”
The report exposed a massive campaign by the CCP and described by human rights organizations as sophisticated global repression on a gigantic scale.
In the report, there are 79 examples of persecution of Falun Gong by the CCP in countries other than China.
The 610 Office
Falun Gong is a spiritual practice of both mind and body, and it became popular in China in the 1990s, with tens of millions of followers.
The leader at the time, Jiang Zemin, became enraged with jealousy when it was thought the number practicing exceeded the number of CCP members. Wanting total control of the people, he launched the 610 office with the sole aim of eradicating Falun Gong.
As the French report indicates, this attempt started by enlisting 15,000 agents inside China and globally.
By utilizing the media, seemingly as a “third party,” the CCP paid media outlets to write stories about Falun Gong to demonize them as a “cult,” inciting hatred in Chinese citizens and others.
One agent was reported to have paid out about $310 to editors-in-chief of numerous Argentina media in April 2020 to publish a defamatory article against Falun Gong.
The media included El Cronista Comercial, Diario Popular, and the online platform Infobae. The article was written crudely, with a lot of misinformation about Falun Gong, attempting to destroy their reputation. The incident was exposed after one editor the agent had contacted gave the information to a Falun Gong practitioner who was a coworker. The agent later confessed he had worked for the CCP on the matter.
Those collaborating with the CCP on this devious plan also sent out demeaning emails in the name of Falun Gong practitioners, targeting members of Parliament, including Ministers in some countries.
One member of the Canada Falun Dafa Association said that there was evidence that CCP agents “systematically” and “repeatedly” sent such emails to officials at all levels across countries to undermine Falun Gong. The IP addresses of some of these emails are from China, reports Falun Info.
International Chinese media under CCP control
It is no secret that the CCP has control over Chinese media overseas. For example, in Canada, except for two independent media—NTD and the Epoch Times—Chinese media are all regulated by the regime.
In 2005, when reporters from NTD and the Epoch Times applied for visas to China to report on the Canadian Prime Minister’s trip, they were approved but then revoked.
According to the French report, the censorship has infiltrated Canadian officials, and both media were banned from covering certain events in Canada to avoid any backlash from Beijing. For example, when former Chinese leader Hu Jintao paid a visit to Ottawa in 2005, permits were not granted for the two independent media. A repeat also happened five years later when Hu returned to Ottawa.
To bring Chinese media overseas into line, the CCP used the ‘carrot and stick” method.
The “carrot” is to offer generous remuneration for self-censorship of news media, training reporters to use CCP narratives.
The “stick” is to threaten to punish the reporter’s families in China.
One example the French report uses is that the International New Media Cooperation Organization was launched in Vancouver in 2014 to unite pro-CCP Chinese media in North America under the auspices of the local United Front of the CCP, as reported by Falun info.
Role of Chinese Students and Scholars Association
The CCP has focused on exerting control over Chinese students overseas through the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA,) an organized network controlled by Chinese embassies and consulates across many countries.
One student at the University of Ottawa received a threatening email from CSSA, which read, “Based on testimonies from other students and investigation from CSSA officials, you are still a Falun Gong practitioner. You’d better watch yourself.”
In another instance, some students from the University of Calgary who were members of CSSA received an email from a person claiming to be a CCP agent. The email used threats to stop them from attending a movie on campus that was to be played by the Friends of Falun Gong club, “Otherwise, your name and photo will be reported to the CCP,” the agent threatened.
Another example cited in the report was from the Australian National University of Canberra four years ago, when a pharmacy on campus displayed free Epoch Times newspapers. The CSSA president demanded to know who authorized their distribution and continued harassing them until they removed the papers.
These are just a few of the many incidents reported.
The IRSEM report documented that in 2010 in Ottawa, more than 3,000 students were enlisted from Ottawa and Quebec to form a welcoming committee for Hu Jintao’s trip to Canada. Each one received compensation of $50 Canadian for their involvement, said witnesses. Chinese embassies also fully covered any expenses. At a meeting held at the Education Office, Liu Shaohua, the first secretary to the office, told students the gathering was a “battle” to defend “the motherland’s reputation.” He ordered students to keep the conversation “confidential.” He suggested students win over Falun Gong practitioners, Uyghurs, and Tibetan “separatists” who had taken a stance at strategic spots in protest at Hu’s visit to Ottawa in 2005, enraging Chinese officials.
Liu intended a grand display this time and instructed students, if asked why they “volunteered” to attend, to say, “We are here to welcome Hu. Long Live the Sino-Canada friendship!”
That same day, Zhang Baojun from the Education Office of the Chinese Consulate in Toronto sent out an email reminding students to “work together and act as planned.” If anyone receiving a scholarship from the CCP did not attend, they must justify their absence.
Organizations are monitored by the CCP to carry out their goal, and individuals who are Chinese descendants are their targets, no matter their nationality.
Local governments in India, Thailand, Serbia, Malaysia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, UAE, Turkey, Nepal, and others have been pressured to arrest individuals, then deport them to China.
The French report details information gathering, infiltration, suppression, threat, intimidation, harassment, and even direct violence.
Another avenue of financial clout exposed by the report is the Confucius Institutes. The CCP not only uses propaganda but can impact the administrations globally through money.
Salvatore Babones, Associate Professor from the University of Sydney, says they exert control financially by offering a building or language center, making it hard for administrations to refuse.
They can then control funding, select teachers, salaries, and equipment, and have control over much of the college’s decision-making. By manipulating through Confucius Institutes, the CCP can silence any voices of dissent. Self-censorship at its finest.