The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) intends to destabilize Taiwanese society by sponsoring organized crime, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in a report on Friday.
Titled China’s Overseas United Front Work: Background and Implications for the United States, the 39-page report said that organizations related to “united front” efforts “are playing an increasingly important role in China’s broader foreign policy” under Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平).
“It is precisely the nature of united front work to ... gain influence that is interwoven with sensitive issues, such as ethnic, political and national identity, making those who seek to identify the negative effects of such influence vulnerable to accusations of prejudice,” the report said.
“The CCP is active in waging information warfare against Taiwan to suppress independence movements, undermine Taiwan’s government, and recruit politicians in Taiwan and third countries to advocate for China’s preferred cross-Strait outcome: unification of Taiwan with the mainland,” it said.
“As with other united front campaigns, these activities include sponsoring trips to mainland China and offering other opportunities such as jobs and trade deals,” the report said.
It said the goal of the “united front” operations “is not to brainwash the general population into supporting unification, but rather to create unrest that the CCP can then claim as justification for military intervention to protect the people there,” adding that the operations include “lobbying efforts in third countries to change the international narrative about the status of Taiwan.”
“This approach has been evident in united front activities in Taiwan, where united front operations have involved sponsorship of organized crime to destabilize society and meddle in politics, which intend to turn Taiwan’s democracy against itself,” the report said.
The report cited Chinese Unity Promotion Party (CUPP) Chairman Chang An-le’s (張安樂) involvement in an alleged attempted attack against Hong Kong democracy advocates visiting Taiwan.
Upon their arrival at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport on Jan. 7 last year, Hong Kong democracy advocate Joshua Wong (黃之鋒), as well as Hong Kong lawmakers Edward Yiu (姚松炎), Nathan Law (羅冠聰) and Eddie Chu (朱凱迪), were confronted by more than 100 protesters associated with the CUPP, and several people wearing masks and black clothing reportedly attempted to physically assault them.
The report also mentioned the New Party’s announcement in December last year of its intention to set up a liaison office in China, Taiwanese authorities’ probe into allegations of New Party members receiving funding from China, and an indictment against New Party members Wang Ping-chung (王炳忠) and two others on charges of espionage and receiving funding from China.
The goal of investments in US academic and policy discourse, such as those by the China-US Exchange Foundation — a Hong Kong-based nonprofit run by Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference’s National Committee vice chairman Tung Chee-hwa (董建華) — is for the CCP to “cultivate enough people in the right places to change the debate without having to directly inject [its] own voice,” the report said.
“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,” it added.
“Because of the complexities of this issue, it is crucial for the US government to better understand Beijing’s united front strategy, its goals, and the actors responsible for achieving them if it is to formulate an effective and comprehensive response,” the report said.
“To effectively counter CCP influence operations, continued research and investigation is needed,” it said, adding that “both Taiwan and Australia, which have long been testing grounds for united front tactics and are intimately familiar with these operations, can play an important role in coordinating international best practices for responding to the CCP’s subversion of democracy abroad.”
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