CCP’s actions contradict Chinese government’s complaints of external interference
Complaints by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) about external state powers meddling with internal Chinese affairs illustrate a high level of hypocrisy on the part of Chinese government officials.
The People’s Republic of China (PRC) has a history of inserting itself into the affairs of foreign countries to wield political, social and economic influence, even interfering in sovereign nations’ governance. The CCP’s attempts to portray itself as a victim are vastly outweighed by publicly documented examples of the PRC itself displaying systemic and persistent behavior as an aggressive foreign manipulator.
“The Chinese government claims a foreign policy of noninterference in other countries’ internal affairs, but there’s a growing mountain of evidence that’s just not true,” The Washington Post newspaper wrote in June 2019. “In fact, the Chinese Communist Party has been rapidly expanding its interference in developing countries around the world. Its efforts are aimed at undermining their democratic institutions, creating economic dependence and stifling any criticism of Beijing.”
Growing evidence of this can be seeing in the tug of war for influence in the Pacific between China and Australia.
For decades, Australia has remained the largest donor of aid to its Pacific region neighbors in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. In recent months the PRC has tried increasingly to impose its influence among the small Pacific island nations through promises of investments, which often come with strings attached that amount to a win for the PRC and a loss of sovereignty and other rights to the host nation.
Another recent flashpoint between the two powers came when Australian intelligence concluded that the PRC was responsible for a cyber attack on the Australian Parliament and the nation’s three largest political parties before a May 2019 general election, Reuters reported in September 2019. The attack raised concerns about election interference, but there was no indication that information was gathered by hackers or used in any way, an unnamed source told Reuters.
China’s Foreign Ministry denied the accusation, releasing a statement that said in part, “We would like to stress that China is also a victim on internet attacks,” Reuters reported.
China is Australia’s largest trading partner. Australian officials chose to keep findings of their intelligence agents under wraps for months for fear of CCP backlash that would disrupt bilateral trade relations.
Such concerns aren’t farfetched — the CCP is known to sever ties with an entity that dares criticize or mock its policies or viewpoints or accuse the PRC of wrongdoing.
Consider the National Basketball Association (NBA), which recently saw U.S. $4 billion in Chinese profits jeopardized when Daryl Morey, the general manager of the Houston Rockets basketball team, tweeted support for Hong Kong protesters fighting for certain freedoms. (Pictured: Demonstrators hold up signs in support of Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey during a rally in Hong Kong on October 15, 2019.)
Morey’s tweet triggered almost immediate backlash, with online Chinese stores pulling Rockets merchandise from their websites and the Chinese Basketball Association announcing it would suspend cooperation with the team, CNN Business website reported in October 2019. Chinese conglomerate Tencent also announced it would stop airing Rockets games until further notice.
CCP bullying tactics to enforce censorship through financial and social means were on display in a different October 2019 incident involving the animated television series South Park.
The series’ 300th episode featured a character speaking derogatively about the Chinese government. It followed a previous episode that saw one of the characters end up in a Chinese labor camp after trying to expand his business venture in China.
That same episode, Band in China, poked fun at Disney and the NBA for doing business with China and mocked Chinese censorship of the stuffed bear character, Winnie the Pooh, which some have compared to Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The PRC is also pushing its influence closer to home by applying pressure on its border neighbor Pakistan to ramp up security to protect thousands of Chinese workers in the area. Those Chinese workers are creating a network of roads, railways and pipelines in Pakistan as part of the PRC’s U.S. $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Indian sources said the PRC pressured the Pakistan military into creating a new division headquarters to better coordinate security initiatives — and keep Pakistan on China’s good side.
“Pakistan knows that any attack on Chinese will have serious ramifications for the country,” an unnamed source said, according to Indian news site ThePrint.in, “especially the military that benefits the most out of this project.”