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US Agency to Reveal China Expands ‘Influence’ Campaign to Win Over World

Members of a US government agency tasked with advising on policy toward China will accuse the People’s Republic of intensifying a comprehensive, worldwide campaign of influence and interference, Newsweek has learned.

As the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission (USCC) prepared to commence the third hearing of its annual report cycle on Thursday, Newsweek obtained an advance copy of opening remarks set to be delivered by commissioners Bob Borochoff and Michael Wessel.

“Under General Secretary Xi Jinping, China has dramatically expanded its efforts to shape the attitudes and actions of people outside its borders in ways that advance the CCP’s [Chinese Communist Party’s] objectives,” Borochoff was set to say.

USCC was created in 2000 and mandated by Congress to report on and provide recommendations on how bilateral trade and economic ties between Washington and Beijing affect US national security.

The latest hearing on “China’s Global Influence and Interference Activities” was set to cover alleged operations spearheaded by the Chinese Communist Party and its Central Committee’s United Front Work Department, which Borochoff would argue has been mobilized by Beijing “to rally support for the CCP among groups outside of the party while neutralizing sources of potential opposition to its policies and authority.”

Such work was said to be global, targeting the US and others, including members of the “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance that also includes Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Also said to be in the crosshairs were developing nations and the disputed self-ruling island of Taiwan.

Borochoff was to criticize what he called a “Leninist approach to foreign policy”—referencing the Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin who founded the Soviet Union—that “frequently involves the use of proxies and covert methods to manipulate people to advance CCP goals, gather intelligence, and exert pressure on the Chinese diaspora.”

“China has also ramped up its global propaganda activities over the last decade,” he was set to add, “investing in new media platforms and other efforts to customize and maximize the impact of its preferred narratives on foreign audiences.”

Wessel, for his part, would also scrutinize Chinese influence operations that were expected to only “expand and deepen.” But he would urge caution on how US policies addressed the issue, saying that “we must be careful to protect the interests of the Chinese people.”

And though Wessel was set to accuse the Chinese Communist Party of “harassment, threats, and coercion” against members of the Chinese diaspora, his remarks also cited FBI hate crime statistics that included some 746 attacks targeting people of Asian descent within the US, up from 249 in 2020.

“This is the highest level in three decades,” his prepared remarks read. “This is unacceptable. We must not allow our efforts to address the CCP’s policies and their impact on our country to inflame our rhetoric.”

As for the Chinese operations in question, Wessel would argue that “the Chinese Communist Party deploys a multitude of influence tactics across sectors to advance its interests and silence voices at odds with the party-state,” and that “China uses a variety of professional and industry-led groups to facilitate relationships with business leaders and policymakers at the federal and subnational level.”

“These relationships, Beijing hopes, will allow it to control the national narrative while shaping policy debates worldwide,” the advance copy of Wessel’s comments reads. “It seeks to influence media, education, business and others. From former government officials to business leaders, from think tanks to educators, the CCP has identified and seeks to utilize every opportunity to support its narrative.”

Such alleged Chinese activities have long been the subject of US scrutiny, especially since the administration of former President Donald Trump, under whom ties between Washington and Beijing deteriorated significantly on a variety of issues such as trade, human rights and territorial disputes, including the status of Taiwan.

These feuds have continued under President Joe Biden, who has said he sought competition with China but not confrontation as he moved to further restrict Chinese access to critical technology.

But Chinese officials have repeatedly rejected the assertion that the People’s Republic was mounting a subversive international influence campaign. And though they have repeatedly called for an improvement in the relationship between Beijing and Washington, they have also accused the US of trying to unilaterally impose its own vision around the world.

On Monday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry published its report on “the State of Democracy in the United States” in 2022, which established a dire forecast for US democracy “in decline” and accused Washington of various acts of wrongdoing in foreign policy, including ” inciting confrontation and conflict in the name of democracy,” “doubling down on unilateral sanctions” and “undermining democracy in international relations.”

And last month, the ministry published another report condemning “US Hegemony and Its Perils” that included accusations of Washington pursuing global hegemony in the political, military, economic, technological and cultural spheres.

“The hegemonic, domineering, and bullying practices of using strength to intimidate the weak, taking from others by force and subterfuge, and playing zero-sum games are exerting grave harm,” the report said. “The historical trends of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit are unstoppable.”

“The United States has been overriding truth with its power and trampling justice to serve self-interest,” it concluded. “These unilateral, egoistic and regressive hegemonic practices have drawn growing, intense criticism and opposition from the international community.”

Newsweek has reached out via email to the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC, for comment.

Members of a US government agency tasked with advising on policy toward China will accuse the People’s Republic of intensifying a comprehensive, worldwide campaign of influence and interference, Newsweek has learned.

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