Helen Raleigh: How CCP Influence Operations Work

HELEN RALEIGH

Hunter Biden’s Laptop Scandal Exposes How Communist Influence Operations Work

by HELEN RALEIGH at The Federalist:

Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop revealed much information, including Hunter’s shady business dealings in Ukraine and China, raising questions about the extent to which President Biden was involved in his son’s business activities. This ongoing scandal lifted the curtain of foreign governments’ covert influence campaigns in the United States. No government has conducted such influence campaigns more effectively than Communist China.

To understand China’s influence campaigns on foreign soil, one has to get familiar with a secretive Chinese government agency, the United Front Work Department (UFWD), or United Front. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) established UFWD in the 1930s, aiming to recruit famous intellectuals, writers, teachers, students, publishers, and business leaders who were not necessarily Communists.

These recruits promoted the CCP’s agenda, influenced public opinion in favor of the CCP in territory ruled by the Nationalist Party, and helped the CCP secure the weapons, medicine, and other resources to overthrow the Nationalist-led government. Then-CCP leader Mao Zedong called the United Front a “magic weapon” for the CCP.

When Xi Jinping came to power in late 2012, he greatly expanded the UFWD and elevated the UFWD’s status by having a politburo member, Ms. Sun Chunlan, head the UFWD. Today, the UFWD’s headquarters in Beijing is located in an unmarked but heavily guarded building next to the CCP’s leadership compound. This location says the highest power in the nation directly endorses its mission and strategy.

UFWD workers are assigned to many government branches inside and outside China, including almost all Chinese embassies, which now include staff formally working with United Front. The UFWD is tasked with helping the CCP aggressively and yet covertly dictate its messages and narratives about China. UFWD’s goal is to gather information and either win over or co-opt support for the CCP. It is to attack and neutralize potential dissent and opposition inside and outside China.

The UFWD’s overseas influence campaigns rely on various methods, including establishing Confucius Institutes and controlling Chinese Students and Scholars Associations on college campuses in the west. But one of its most effective methods is to cultivate politicians, prominent business people, and well-known intellectuals in the west as “friends of China.”

These “friends” then influence policies and public opinion in their home countries to favor China, while trying to minimize harm to China and silence any criticism of the CCP. This approach is called “influencing the influencers.”

The UFWD’s process of cultivating “friends” usually involves several tactics. UFWD knows how to make them feel important through excessive flattery, lavish trips to China, and access to high-level Chinese government officials. For foreign business elites and families of prominent foreign politicians, the UFWD has made sure they were rewarded financially either through bribes or preferential business terms.

Continue reading HERE.

Pay special attention to this section of the piece:

The Chinese government has also been cultivating relationships with family members of other prominent U.S. politicians. For example, Chinese companies, including some large state-owned enterprises such as the Bank of China (BOC), funded 80 percent of the Bohai Harvest RST (BHR) investment fund, which was partly owned and directed by Hunter Biden and Chris Heinz, the stepson of former Secretary of State John Kerry, through their private equity fund, Rosemont Seneca Partners.

The Chinese government authorities approved the deal to establish the fund after Hunter Biden traveled to China with then-Vice President Joe Biden in 2013. China’s apparent motive was to buy influence in the United States through the children of two of the most prominent officials in the Obama administration.

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