Beijing to step up global influence campaign: Taiwanese expert

02/21/2021 08:20 PM
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Beijing. CNA file photo
Beijing. CNA file photo

Taipei, Feb. 21 (CNA) 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, according to an expert from a government-funded think tank in Taiwan.

The assessment was made by Lin Cheng-jung (林政榮), a visiting researcher at the Institute for National Defense and Security Research in an article published in the institution's Defense Security Bi-weekly on Feb. 20.

On Jan. 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.

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.

The CPC is therefore expanding its influence campaign from domestic to international audiences, utilizing modern technology and other creative ways, with Taiwan as one of its primary targets, the military officer noted.

The scope of the CPC's global influence campaign encompasses politics, economics, the military and education, he said, citing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the more than 500 Confucius Institutes all over the world as examples.

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.

As for the CPC's united front work against Taiwan, Lin said, Beijing has been using the carrot-and-stick approach in dealing with Taiwan.

On the carrot side, the CPC provides perks to Taiwanese people who wish to do business, study or work in China, and promotes cross-Taiwan Strait exchanges by designating 79 sites as bases for religious and cultural interactions, he said.

Recently, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Beijing has introduced online exchanges between religious organizations across the strait in an effort to win the trust of the Taiwanese people, he said.

Meanwhile, on the stick side, the CPC has been applying scare tactics to the island through military provocation, as well as other forms of psychological and legal warfare, he said.

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 unification of Taiwan and China, he concluded.

(By Emerson Lim)


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