Front organizations, Chinese rappers, and a fake hotel support the CCP’s propaganda war
A new study of China’s global influence operations, produced by the French military, is taking France by storm.
Le Monde, Le Parisien, Le Figaro, L’Express, Libération, the country’s Senate, and others have all covered the 641-page report, most positively and many breathlessly.
Breathless is the right reaction to newly discovering the depths of China’s influence operations, which the new report achieves in spades.
The authors of the report, published Sept. 20 and titled “Chinese Influence Operations: A Machiavellian Moment,” are Dr. Paul Charon and Dr. Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer at the Institute for Strategic Research (IRSEM). The IRSEM is associated with the French Ministry of Defense.
The report makes three new contributions to the field of Chinese influence operations: the activities of the Chinese military’s secret propaganda department, called Base 311; the means through which the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) targets French universities, think tanks, and political parties for influence; and the key role of the Chinese Communist Youth League (CYL) in the CCP’s attempts at expanding influence among the world’s youth.
According to the study, the CCP’s “one-off partners,” which are targets of its influence, include “think tanks, foundations and research centers.” Some of these “useful idiot” groups may actually take the initiative to offer their services, usually for a fee. “These partnerships are very useful to the Party because they allow it, instead of through what would require extreme efforts, to extend its contact surface and its acceptability on foreign soil. When a reputable think tank organizes an event with China, it is the ability of this organization to convey the Party rhetoric that is sought after by Beijing.”
The CCP holds party-to-party forums in China and Brussels, for example, and reaches out to as broad a spectrum of political parties as possible. “This is why several delegates from the same country, but from different political parties, can be targeted,” according to the authors. The CCP “for example, invited Francis Wurzt, former president of the Party of the European Left/Nordic Green Left (PEL/NGL) and member of the French Communist Party, but also Thierry Mariani, former vice-president of the UMP [Union for a Popular Movement].”
By Anders Corr