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- Author: Jonas Parello-Plesner
- Publication Date: 06-2018
- Content Type: Special Report
- Institution: Hudson Institute
- Abstract: Russia’s interference and election meddling dominate the headlines and Washington’s attention. But beneath the radar, another country’s interference is expanding, dwarfing Russia’s short-term disruption. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under General Secretary Xi Jinping has put enormous resources into influence abroad, estimated at $10 billion a year. [...] In this report, we provide specific recommendations for the U.S. and the broader community of democracies on how to enact proactive and protective measures. First and foremost, the National Security Council should finalize a whole-of-government mapping of CCP interference and influence, mapping the boundaries between counter-intelligence and law enforcement and over to legislation and civil society initiatives. To further transparency and public scrutiny, Congress should mandate a yearly report on the issue. Civil society, think tanks, China scholars, and journalists should join together and create a “United Front tracker.” And stronger defenses are needed, such as increased donor transparency in campaign finance and tightening of the Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA) and Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). A civil rights approach should provide targeted protection to Chinese-American communities from foreign interference. Internationally, we suggest collaboration among democratic governments to create a “United Front of Democracies” and explore counter-measures. These could include more funding of media and education worldwide to provide Chinese diaspora communities with news not controlled by Beijing and countering the attractiveness of Confucius Institutes by securing more independent funding for Chinese-language studies and China research. In the end, transparency and legislation can only go a certain distance. Democracy is kept alive by democratic citizens and well-functioning institutions. The citizens of the United States and other democracies need to personally invest in safeguarding their democratic traditions rather than selling out. This is the genuine long-term inoculation against the challenge from authoritarian interference and influence.
- Topic: International Relations, Corruption, Elections, Foreign Interference, Chinese Communist Party (CCP)
- Political Geography: China, East Asia, United States of America