A key strategy of the Chinese Communist Party’s stealth war is to create an international network of people aligned to the CCP’s interests and sympathetic to its causes. The CCP’s influence operations span the globe and are crucial to the CCP ability to exert economic, political, or ideological influence over foreign countries and their citizens. Domestically, China describes these operations as “united front work.” The goal of united front work is multi-pronged. The CCP wishes to control public opinion, silence dissent, gain access to strategic information overseas, and support its economic projects. To carry this out, China first identifies people of influence and then works to sway them into operating in the CCP’s interests. Ideal targets are people with political clout and opinion influencers. Once the CCP has these people in their grasp, they will use them to stifle anti-CCP speech. The CCP also funds operations and centers around the world, focused on spreading the Chinese language and culture. Furthermore, Chinese nationals living in foreign countries will attempt to disrupt anti-CCP events and information, going so far as to use physical violence on international soil. An overwhelming amount of Chinese companies’ CEOs are CCP members, and foreign companies in China must have a CCP cell, which means that China’s corporate sector is also taking part in united front work. This is all a part of the network Beijing wishes to build in their “united front.” China’s influence operations, although not as reported on, are just as powerful as their other forms of “unrestricted warfare.” The Chinese Communist Party, utilizing personal interaction, spreads its propaganda through foreign countries, at all levels of society.
A new book persuasively details how sophisticated influence operations helped popularize the idea of China’s “peaceful rise.”