On 10 December 2021, Estonian Foreign Policy Institute (EFPI) at the ICDS and the Czech based research project Sinopsis, run in scholarly collaboration with the Department of Sinology at Charles University, co-organised an international research workshop focusing on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) influence activities around the world.
The recent workshop titled “CCP Influence in the Nordic-Baltic Region” was the fourth edition in the series called “Mapping China’s Footprint in the World” that brings together the findings and insights from a group of leading European, Australian and US researchers focusing on the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and CCP.
The workshop was divided into three panels, shedding light on the Chinese security and intelligence apparatus influence operations, their characteristics and their specific activities in the Nordic-Baltic region.
Key takeaways from the event:
- China’s current leader XI Jinping is noticeably more ideologically socialist than his predecessors and hence he has tightened state control and is actively looking for ways to counter free market economies globally.
- China’s activities abroad are characterized by a broad and coordinated influence operations, closely connected to state and security apparatus, that seeks to create a positive image of the socialist system and to increase its influence in the world, while suppressing all of its opponents.
- China’s activities have cross-border and cross-sector perspective, and they challenge the core principles of the free democratic systems. For example, the concept of rule of law is challenged with a concept called “foreign related rule by law.”
- China has a whole policy department called United Front Work that works closely together with the Ministry of Public Security on running influence operations internally and abroad.
- Documented operations include a whole variety of activities such as: dumping, key infrastructure takeovers, buying of politicians, businessmen and media as well as using espionage, kidnap and imprisonment of dissidents or minorities and applying political pressure through embassies.
- Especially vulnerable are the small to medium size enterprises and local authorities because Chinese can usually offer considerable price reduction to their everyday operations.
- The key to counter these malign activities is to increase awareness about the Chinese system and their strategies and take united liberal democratic measures to counter these threats.
EFPI at ICDS would like to express our deepest gratitude to all our guests for their hard work and valuable insights:
- Dr Martin Hála from Sinopsis
- Alex Joske – independent researcher
- Matthew D. Johnson from Hoover Institution at Stanford University
- Laura Harth from Safeguard defenders
- Łukasz Sarek – China market analyst
- Filip Jirouš from Sinopsis
- Dr Ralph Weber from the University of Basel
- Pär Nyrén – independent researcher
- Justina Razumaitė from Vilnius University
Videos of the panels, a gallery, as well as information about the event, agenda and speakers are available here.