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CCP seeks world’s most advanced military through exploitation


The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) seeks to build the most technologically advanced military on the planet through a strategy called military-civilian fusion (MCF) that includes exploiting the openness of democracies and stealing technologies from other nations.

“Internationally, MCF is provoking concern in many countries, who are wary of rapidly developing military capabilities in China, and also of the increasingly blurred lines between public and private sectors when dealing with Chinese companies,” Bonnie Glaser, a China policy expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said in a May 2020 podcast she hosts called ChinaPower.

The CCP is preying upon joint research institutions, academia and private firms to build the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA’s) future military systems — often without their knowledge or consent and often illegally, according to the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation.

“The CCP is implementing this strategy, not just through its own research and development efforts, but also by acquiring and diverting the world’s cutting-edge technologies, including through theft, in order to achieve military dominance,” the State Department said.

The CCP views MCF as critical to achieve its regional and global ambitions, which include developing the PLA into a “world class military” by 2049 and becoming the first nation to move to “intelligent warfare” by applying artificial intelligence (AI) to next-generation warfare, the State Department said.

The CCP is systematically reorganizing the Chinese science and technology enterprise to ensure that innovations simultaneously advance its economic and military development. Central to MCF is the removal of barriers between China’s civilian research and commercial sectors and its military and defense industrial sectors, the State Department said.

“China has sought to channel its economic prowess in innovation capacity toward creating a set of dual-use technologies that benefit the military without requiring costly state investments,” Glaser explained.

CCP General Secretary Xi Jinping oversees the strategy’s implementation and heads the CCP’s Central Military Commission and the Central Commission for Military-Civil Fusion Development.

For all these reasons, “MCF threatens the trust, transparency, reciprocity and shared values that underpin international science and technology collaboration and fair global business practices,” the State Department said. “In a clandestine and non-transparent manner, the CCP is acquiring the intellectual property, key research and technological advancements of the world’s citizens, researchers, scholars and private industry in order to advance military aims.”

The CCP is targeting key technologies such as quantum computing, big data, semiconductors, 5G, advanced nuclear technology, aerospace technology and AI. It explicitly seeks to exploit the dual-use nature of many of these technologies, which have military and civilian applications, the State Department said.

“So even if the Chinese Communist Party gives assurances about your technology being confined to peaceful uses, you should know there is an enormous risk — risk to America’s national security as well,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, pictured, told a group of technology leaders in early 2020.

Through policies such as “Made in China 2025,” the CCP hopes to create economic incentives for private companies to pursue development paths that will advance the party’s military ambitions and strategic vision, Glaser said.

More problematic is the CCP’s use of coercive and illegal means to develop and acquire key technologies. These include investment in private industries, talent recruitment programs, directing academic and research collaboration to military gain, forced technology transfer, intelligence gathering and theft, the State Department said.

The MCF strategy allows a growing number of civilian entities to undertake classified military research and development and weapons production. The CCP also exploits the openness of the global research enterprise to bolster its military capabilities through bodies such as the China Scholarship Council, which requires academic scholarship recipients to report on their overseas research to Chinese diplomats, the State Department said.

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