Fri, Feb 09, 2018 - Page 8 News List

Chinese infiltration not unnoticed

By Parris Chang 張旭成

The National Security Strategy report released on Dec. 18 last year by US President Donald Trump’s administration contains a section that few people have noticed or discussed, in which it says that the US must make efforts to counter China’s infiltration operations in the US.

The US National Security Council is alarmed by China’s use of financial, political and other means to manipulate and control US academia, think tanks, media and Hollywood producers, and it has established a working group to investigate and plan how to counter Beijing’s attempts.

There are 350,000 Chinese studying at US universities, accounting for one-third of all international students in the nation. The Chinese government encourages them to join Chinese student organizations at their universities, which are used by behind-the-scenes Chinese Communist Party (CCP) organizations to direct and control them.

The Office of Chinese Language Council International, known as Hanban, which is subordinate to the Chinese Ministry of Education, has worked with US universities, high schools and some towns and cities to set up several hundred Confucius Institutes in the US.

The purported aim of these institutes is to teach Chinese language and spread Chinese culture, but their real mission is to brainwash US students and promote the CCP’s political goals.

Some educational institutions, including the University of Chicago and Pennsylvania State University, have closed their Confucius Institutes on the grounds that they were operating under false pretenses and obstructing academic freedom.

Over the years, China has been acquiring US companies, especially those related to advanced technology and defense. This has caused alarm bells to ring in US national security departments.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which is responsible for US security implications of foreign investments, closely monitors acquisitions of US companies by Chinese capital and has blocked several attempts by Huawei Technologies Co, which has connections with the People’s Liberation Army, to enter the US market.

Quite a few US think tanks have also been tainted by Chinese money. Under the pretext of funding research into China, government-controlled Chinese think tanks, as well as companies with close ties to the Beijing authorities, provide funding for US think tanks to engage in cooperative research.

US National Security Council officials say the findings of such projects are likely to be biased.

Beijing also uses financial means to interfere on a large scale in Australian politics. For example, Australian Senator Sam Dastyari, of the opposition Labor Party, has been accused of accepting political donations from a Chinese businessman and of advocating and implementing China’s foreign policies.

Faced with a tide of criticism, Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten criticized Dastyari.

Shorten said that “his judgement has let him down,” and forced Dastyari to resign from his post of deputy opposition whip and from his membership of Senate committees.

China also uses so-called “soft power” to interfere in Australian academia. It sends students to study in Australian universities and sets up CCP organizations within Chinese student associations to control them.

This Chinese cultural “invasion” is seen as a fuse that could spark clashes between communities in Australia.

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