‘3 Warfares’ Doctrine Underpins CCP’s Sprawling Campaign to Infiltrate the West: Report

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Psychological warfare. Public opinion warfare. Legal warfare.

Known as the “three warfares” doctrine and relatively unknown in the West, these concepts serve as key strategies guiding the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in its quest to win a war against the free world without firing a single shot.

Psychological warfare seeks to demoralize the enemy; public opinion warfare seeks to shape the hearts and minds of the masses; legal warfare seeks to use systems of law to deter enemy attacks.

This explanation was set out in a recently released 650-page report that provides a comprehensive illustration of the Chinese communist regime’s global influence operations. The French-language report was published by the Institute for Strategic Studies of Military Schools (IRSEM), an independent agency affiliated with the French Ministry of Armed Forces.

Combined with another key CCP doctrine called “United Front” work, these principles have undergirded a breathtaking campaign by the Chinese regime to expand its influence and infiltration into Western democracies, the report stated.

United Front, described by the CCP’s first leader Mao Zedong as a “magic weapon,” is a policy that, according to the report, involves the regime “eliminating its internal and external enemies, controlling groups that may challenge its authority, building a coalition around the Party to serve its interests, and projecting its influence abroad.”

The report comes amid rising pushback from the West against CCP aggressions, including its severe human rights abuses, rampant theft of intellectual property, economic coercion, and military assertiveness.

Sweeping Effort

Guided by such strategies, the Chinese regime has built a sprawling infrastructure with global reach consisting of a broad network of state and non-state actors to execute its plans.

According to IRSEM, Beijing’s influence operations abroad have two main objectives: “to seduce and subjugate foreign audiences by creating a positive narrative of China,” and “above all, to infiltrate and coerce.”

“Infiltration aims to slowly penetrate opposing societies in order to hinder any inclination to act against the interests of the Party,” the report stated.

“Coercion corresponds to the gradual expansion of ‘punitive’ or ‘coercive’ diplomacy to become a policy of systematic sanction against any state, organization, enterprise or individual threatening the interests of the Party.”

Targets of the CCP’s campaigns span the whole spectrum of society. Key battleground areas include education, media, politics, culture, and social media.

By Cathy He

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