China to strengthen global influence campaign amid rising discontent: Report
Facing disapproval around the world over a slew of issues including Xinjiang, Hong Kong, coronavirus handling and Indo-Pacific, Beijing is expected to step up its global influence campaign after the Communist Party of China (CPC) issued revised regulations on united front work in early January.
Lin Cheng-jung, a researcher at Taiwan government-funded think tank Institute for National Defense and Security Research, in an article published in the institution's Defense Security Bi-weekly on Feburary 20, said that the CPC is expanding its influence campaign from domestic to international audiences, utilizing modern technology and other creative ways, with Taiwan as one of its primary targets, Focus Taiwan reported.
On January 5, the CPC Central Committee published its revised regulations on united front work after a five-year trial period.
The united front is defined by the CPC as an alliance of different political forces to advance the party's interests. The united front work, as observed by international experts, however, is achieved largely through using its political influence.
In 2021, the CPC is expected to focus on "invisible emotional warfare" against Taiwan by making as many friends as it can in Taiwan and overseas that support the unification of Taiwan and China, he concluded.
Lin said the revisions signify that the CPC is aiming to institutionalize its united front work to face domestic and external challenges more effectively, including internal reforms, religious and ethnic conflicts such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang and Tibet.
According to Lin, the scope of the CPC's global influence campaign encompasses politics, economics, the military and education including Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the more than 500 Confucius Institutes all over the world.
The CPC hopes to export its cultural values and ideologies to other countries through these Confucius Institutes and to lure developing countries to its side with money through the BRI, he said.
Lin pointed out that the CPC's united front tactics evolve through time and that the party now uses the popular app TikTok to air political ads, reaching people in as many as 150 countries around the world.
Another social media platform worth watching for the CPC's influence campaign is the Clubhouse, he added.