New think tank report details CCP ‘united front’ work

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In his speech on September 23, 2020 at the Wisconsin State Capitol in Madison, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized the importance of discerning and resisting the CCP’s united front work in the state and local governments and communities. This has brought new attention to the united front work, which he listed as one of the three CCP strategies, the other two being arms struggle and Party building.

A Washington think tank studied over 160 recent budgets of various CCP government agencies and discovered that in 2019 alone, the “united front” work cost the CCP central government at least 1.4 billion US dollars; provincial and local “united front” expenditures exceeded 1.3 billion US dollars. The total “united front” expenditure surpassed that of the CCP’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, whose budget in 2019 was about 2 billion US dollars.

Jamestown Foundation released the report on September 16. The report didn’t count the expenditures of the CCP central United Front Work Department, as its budget is unavailable. The think tank’s estimate is over 400 million US dollars.

The United Front Work Department mainly focuses on suppressing ethnic and religious groups. The regime spends more than 1.2 billion U.S. dollars each year in this area, according to the Jamestown report. This is followed closely by the work of influencing foreigners and overseas Chinese communities, for which the CCP invests nearly $600 million US dollars a year.

Analyst Ryan Fedasiuk wrote in the report: “There is a universal truth known to government bureaucrats in every country: budgets speak louder than words.” The report assumes budgets are the same as expenditures, as in the typical “use it or lose it” nature of government funding.

The report also mentions the four CCP government departments that are vital to the work of the Central United Front Work Department (中央统战部), including the CCP Political Consultative Conference (中国人民政治协商会议全国委员会), State Ethnic Affairs Commission (国家民族事务委员会), Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council (国务院侨务办公室), and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (中华全国工商业联合会).

Among them, the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council is responsible for overseas propaganda work, and instills “unified thinking” to residents of Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, attracts foreign talents and examines information that it considers related to “foreign intervention.”

The Overseas Chinese Affairs Office is also responsible for receiving outstanding foreigners in China; contacting Chinese students and scholars in order to promote the “Science and Technology Cooperation and Talent Development” program.

The report cited Jiangxi Province’s 2019 budget documents, indicating that the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office also partners with the CCP’s “national security and intelligence departments” to “supervise and inspect the implementation of foreign affairs discipline and foreign-related confidentiality systems.”

“In light of the facts, I’d ask this question: If there’s really nothing nefarious going on with the united front, why do some provinces feel compelled to classify information about their [united front works] as secret?” Fedasiuk wrote in a tweet about his findings on September 16.

Fedasiuk said that the large budget of the United Front Work Department shows “the party attaches great importance to the United Front Work Department and uses it as a tool for exerting influence at home and abroad.”

According to Fedasiuk’s report, the China-U.S. Exchange Foundation which is a Chinese united front organization in the United States, is one of the important entities. The CCP has provided funding for its lobbying activities in the United States in the past decade.

The chairman of the organization is the current vice-chairman of the CPPCC (the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference). However, the organization has repeatedly denied ties to the CCP and claims to be “independent” from the regime.

In the first half of 2020, China-US Exchange Foundation and the Chinese Embassy paid over $400,000 US dollars to BLJ Worldwide, a U.S. public relations company, as compensation for its “great international propaganda” work. BLJ was one of the seven contractors the CCP engaged for the campaign.

The Epoch Times & NTD Hong Kong

Production: Terri, Sophia
Date: September 24, 2020

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