The Washington Free Beacon (Oct 22) — China’s military is using covert political warfare operations to influence U.S. policies and opinions toward Beijing while working to defeat perceived enemies like the United States and Taiwan, according to a report on the sub-rosa activities.
The activities of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Political Department (GPD) include funding pro-China activities abroad, recruiting intelligence sources, spreading propaganda, engaging in media activities, funding front groups that promote Chinese strategy and goals and supporting perceived “friends” of China.
The report is the first public study of Chinese military political warfare and was produced by the Project 2049 Institute, an Arlington, Va. think tank focused on bringing democracy to China and other Asian countries by 2049.
The report identifies one of the PLA political operations as the Sanya Initiative. That initiative brought together retired senior Chinese and U.S. military officers, including former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff retired Adm. Bill Owens, that have lobbied the Pentagon and Congress using the propaganda theme that China poses no threat to the United States.
…Chinese political warfare also shares roots with the Soviet Union’s use of so-called “active measures” during the Cold War. Those KGB-run operations included spreading lies to undermine the United States, like an operation claiming AIDS was a U.S. biological warfare program.
Soviet active measures also used forged documents to undermine U.S. political figures.
“By contrast, no single [Chinese] authority, with the exception of the Politburo Standing Committee, appears to enjoy an exclusive monopoly over political warfare,” the report said.