Tag Archives: Confucius Institutes

China’s tentacles over America via espionage & funding of D.C. think tanks, university institutes, and retired US military

While the Democrats and MSM continue to obsess and rant about the alleged Trump-Russian collusion, for which not a shred of credible evidence has been unearthed after more than a year of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, America is oblivious to the real foreign threat — China.

For all its market reforms since 1979, the People’s Republic of China remains a single-party state where the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a monopoly on political power and government. For that matter, the market reforms have only made China wealthy, especially CCP members and government officials, as well as modernized a retrograde military into one that is flexing its muscles as China exerts irredentist claims over the East and South China Seas.

Did you know that China has more millionaires than Japan and the United Kingdom, combined?

Being a single-party dictatorship, when we say the Chinese government is doing this or that, what we really should say is that the Chinese Communist Party is doing so and so.

Not only is the CCP engaged in unprecedented espionage in the United States — recruiting the personal driver of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and using fake LinkedIn accounts to recruit countless other Americans with access to sensitive government and business secrets — the CCP is also exercising its “soft power” malefic influence over America by creating Confucius Institutes and centers of Chinese language and culture education and research, and funding conferences and symposia in U.S. colleges and universities (see Inside Higher Ed).

Now comes news that the Chinese Communist government is funding left-leaning think tanks in Washington, DC.

Bill Gertz reports for the Washington Free Beacon, August 24, 2018, that according to a congressional commission report on China, the Chinese Communist Party is intensifying covert influence operations in the United States through its Central Committee organ, the United Front Work Department that employs tens of thousands of overt and covert operatives. One means of China’s “influence operation” is funding Washington think tanks.

Note: The report, China’s Overseas United Front Work: Background and Implications for the Unites States, is published by Congress’ US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, August 24, 2018, authored by Alexander Bowe, a policy analyst specializing in security and foreign affairs.

China’s goal in funding think tanks is to change American debates on China and U.S. China policy without Beijing having to use its own voice by having the think tanks adopt positions that support Beijing’s policies. The report says:

The [Chinese Communist Party] has sought to influence academic discourse on China and in certain instances has infringed upon—and potentially criminally violated—rights to freedoms of speech and association that are guaranteed to Americans and those protected by U.S. laws. Despite the CCP’s candid discussion of its United Front strategy, the breadth and depth of this issue remain relatively unknown to U.S. policymakers.

According to the congressional China report, Chinese President Xi Jingpin has elevated the role of the communist influence organs to promote Chinese communism worldwide via “united front” organizations. Xi regards United Front work as a “magic weapon” for use in what he calls the rejuvenation of China. Since becoming Party general secretary in 2012, Xi has added new departments and 40,000 more people to the ranks of the CCP’s United Front Work Department. The report says:

The goal of ‘overseas Chinese work’ [by the CCP’s United Front organizations] is to use ethnic, cultural, economic, or political ties to mobilize sympathetic overseas Chinese communities—ideally of their own accord—to advocate for the interests of the CCP and marginalize its opponents. Chinese intelligence services have been known to coerce overseas Chinese to function as operatives targeting other overseas Chinese in both the United States and other countries, indicating that these agencies actively participate in overseas Chinese work that seeks to hide official connections.

Washington think tanks that have received funding from China and are influential in American policy circles include:

  1. The Johns Hopkins School of Advance International Studies, a major foreign policy education and analysis institute, has received funding from Tung Chee-hwa, a vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) — the party group that directs the United Front Work Department and includes a member of the CCP’s highest organ, the Standing Committee of the Politburo Standing Committee. The funding for Johns Hopkins came from Tung’s non-profit group in Hong Kong, the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation (CUSEF), which is a registered Chinese agent, uses the same public relations firm as the Chinese embassy in Washington, DC, and has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying for China-U.S. relations.
  2. Atlantic Council
  3. Brookings Institution
  4. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
  5. Carter Center
  6. Center for American Progress (CAP): The Center denies receiving money from China. However, it cooperated with, though without financial contribution from, the China-US Exchange Foundation — a registered foreign agent — in producing a joint report in 2014.
  7. EastWest Institute

US-China Economic and Security Review Commission member Larry Wortzel, a former military intelligence officer once posted to China, said the report is important for exposing the activities of the United Front Work Department and the China People’s Political Consultative Conference:

“Most Americans and many members of Congress have no idea of the range of activities undertaken by this Chinese Communist Party web. It is a form of activity by Communist parties that dates back to the days of Lenin. Congress should consider legislation requiring anyone associated with the China People’s Political Consultative Conference, CUSEF, or the United Front Work Department to register as a foreign agent.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said the collusion between groups like the Washington think tanks and the CCP’s United Front Work Department operatives is the Chinese Communist Party using Americans to “unwittingly promote CCP ideology” in a “countering voice” in debates over China. “Beijing seeks to outsource its messaging in part because it believes foreigners are more likely to accept propaganda if it appears to come from non-Chinese sources.”

According to the China report, in addition to funding Washington think tanks:

  1. Chinese intelligence officers in diplomatic posts recruit Chinese students and scholars in the U.S. to curtail universities’ discussion of China. The students are targeted through 142 Chinese Students and Scholars Associations (CSSA) that “routinely coordinate with the Chinese government and … have been involved in the suppression of free speech and the harassment, intimidation, and surveillance of Chinese student activists.” Former Chinese diplomat Chen Yonglin, who defected to Australia in 2005, said China uses both coercion and incentives to recruit Chinese students as informants.
  2. Confucius Institutes—Chinese government-funded centers that are used for influence and intelligence activities — located on hundreds of American campuses are used to “advance Beijing’s preferred narrative and subvert important academic principles such as institutional autonomy and academic freedom.” The congressional report notes that “Significantly, Confucius Institutes are funded by the CCP Propaganda Department—formally affiliated with the [United Front Work Department] —and are also overseen by personnel based in Chinese embassies and consulates.”
  3. Even more alarming are the Chinese military’s covert influence operations via a front organization called the China Association for International Friendly Contact (CAIFC). One of the works of CAIFC is the Sanya Initiative, a series of “track two” dialogues between retired senior flag officers of the U.S. and Chinese armed forces. The Sanya Initiative is led by retired Adm. William Owens, 78, a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (appointed by Bill Clinton), who has used the Sanya group to lobby Congress and the Pentagon against annual publication of the China Military Power report.

Note: Track II diplomacy or “backchannel diplomacy” is the practice of “non-governmental, informal and unofficial contacts and activities between private citizens or groups of individuals, sometimes called ‘non-state actors'”.

The report concludes that the threat to the United States from China’s United Front operations is “significant” but “the extent of its organization and influence is still relatively unknown among policymakers.” Meanwhile, Congress is considering legislation to require:

  • All organizations that promote the political agendas of foreign governments to register as foreign agents.
  • Universities to disclose certain donations and gifts from foreign sources.

See also Breitbart‘s article on the corrupt connections Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and her husband, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky), have with China: “New York Magazine: Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao Gets Her Own Ethics Scandal“.

~Eowyn

Better than Drudge Report. Check out Whatfinger News, the Internet’s conservative frontpage founded by ex-military!

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US Universities Promote Propaganda & Censorship for China

 
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Confucius on the Campus

by Glenn Anthony May – Asia Sentinel – March 4, 2011  
China buys a sympathetic view in US academe
If you are an American academician specializing in Asian affairs, you may have noticed that an organization called the “Confucius Institute” has sprung up on a nearby US college campus.
Not long ago one was launched at my own academic institution, the University of Oregon in Eugene, with much attendant fanfare, including a Kun Opera performance. Since the first institutes came into existence in the last decade, a host of questions have been raised about them. Up to now, however, the major media outlets in the United States have given relatively little attention to the development.
The institutes are “nonprofit” joint ventures – contractual arrangements between colleges (and other institutions) around the world and Hanban, an agency based in the PRC that oversees the entire operation. Hanban is staffed with Chinese government bureaucrats.
In an effort to project China’s soft power worldwide via culture and education, Beijing reportedly put up US$10 billion to establish the first 100 institutes. Xinhua, the Chinese state wire service, reported last July that 316 Confucius Institutes have now been established in 94 countries.
Their official function is to promote Mandarin language study and an appreciation of Chinese culture. Hanban provides seed money to get the institutes running (the initial amount is generally in the US$150,000- $250,000 range), ongoing financial support and a variety of perks. For example, campuses with Confucius Institutes are allocated a certain number of Chinese government scholarships – awards that cover “full tuition and living expenses for international students and scholars to study language and China-related studies at Chinese universities.”
The University of Oregon recently received word that “approximately” 10 scholarships were available to its students.
The institutes occupy offices on college campuses. They have on-site directors, typically China specialists who are already on the faculty, and paid staff, including language instructors and assistant directors from affiliated Chinese universities. They offer language classes, but not always for college credit, and sponsor or co-sponsor an array of lectures, exhibits, and other events of a cultural nature.
Much of that seems harmless enough, and some of it sounds downright appealing. So what’s the problem? Let me focus on a single issue.
They come with visible strings attached. Some of the strings can be seen in the memoranda of understanding that US universities conclude with Hanban. Among other things, they must state their support for the “one China policy” – the decades-old US policy of not recognizing the legitimacy of the Republic of China on Taiwan.
I, for one, consider that policy profoundly misguided, and I’m sure that I’m not the only American who feels that way. At universities, we normally have an opportunity to debate issues like that, allowing professors like me and students to take issue publicly with our government’s policy. Hanban, for obvious reasons, wants no such discussion to occur.
What that particular attached string means in practice is that Confucius Institutes will hardly ever provide funding for events relating to Taiwan. It also means that other academic units at Hanban-affiliated universities will not likely fund them either. Once the perks from Hanban begin to arrive, professors at universities with CIs become extremely reluctant to do anything to upset their generous benefactors.
But it’s not just Taiwan that receives special treatment. Two other “T” words are anathema to Beijing, and hence to Hanban: Tibet and Tiananmen. Don’t expect any universities with CIs to arrange a visit of the Dalai Lama anytime soon or to schedule a symposium on the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. In Canada last year, during riots in Tibet, the head of a Confucius Institute at the University of Waterloo succeeded in reversing the direction of coverage and getting a major Canadian television station to apologize for its previous pro-rebel coverage.
Other issues are verboten – China’s treatment of the recent Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo and other human rights activists, China’s military buildup, China’s currency manipulation, China’s appalling environmental record, China’s crackdown on the Falun Gong and so on. Hanban wants to paint a portrait of China without any unsightly wrinkles. As one scholar puts it, the People’s Republic is intent on emphasizing “happy news.”
In the academy, we have words to describe this approach to community education and public discussion. “Propagandizing” is one word; “censorship” is another. But don’t blame Hanban alone. It merely provides some money and establishes the guidelines; the academics and university administrators carry out the policies.
In my view, those university-based China scholars are most at fault. While a few of them have spoken out against the institutes, most have not, and more than a few have willingly collaborated. Personally, I applaud the outspoken ones and have no use for the collaborators. As for the silent masses, I sympathize to some extent. Many realize that to speak out is to run the risk of being denied a visa to China. The People’s Republic is not kind to its critics.
Under the circumstances, the academy cannot expect the China scholars, the supposed experts on things Chinese, to police the activities of the institutes. They are, sad to say, a hopelessly compromised lot. Nor can we expect university administrators to do so either – many of them have played key roles in establishing Confucius Institutes on their campuses.
That leaves the rest of us. If you care about free speech and believe that the university should provide an open forum for discussion and debate, you should be concerned.
Glenn Anthony May, professor of history at the University of Oregon, specializes in Southeast Asian history. For the current academic year, he is visiting professor in the Center for Asia-Pacific Area Studies at Academia Sinica, Taipei.
~Posted by Eowyn (h/t Sol)

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