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Government/Politics

CCP Uses “Cultural Exchanges” to Strengthen United Front Work Overseas

In internal documents that the Epoch Times obtained, the CCP reveals that it has been using winter or summer camps or writing contests in the name of what it calls “culture exchanges” as its propaganda outlet to strengthen its united front work. United front work has, as its purpose, influencing people and organizations inside and outside of China to support the CCP. Below is a list of examples.

1. Hebei Overseas Chinese Federation used the “2020 online summer camp” as a propaganda tool. In the internal document from Hebei Overseas Chinese Federation, it stated that facing the sudden outbreak of COVID 19, some countries started to attack China. Therefore “we have integrated topics such as China’s experience, plan and role in combating COVID 19 into the activities at the summer camp.” According to the consolidated list of camper information, the Hebei Friendship Association in Australia and England and the North American Youth Federation sent 202 students to the 6th session while Madrid Overseas Chinese and Wenlin Chinese Culture School sent 194 students to the 7th session.

2. On November 3, 2020, the Zhangjiakou Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese organized the 21st World Chinese Student Composition Contest in Zhangjiakou City which attracted over 3,800 High school students to the contest. The Zhangjiakou Overseas Chinese Federation requires that the schools and teachers mobilize the children of the returned overseas Chinese and high school students to participate in the competition in order to “inspire students’ patriotic sentiments.” The theme was to “promote Chinese culture” but the contents mostly involved praising the CCP and its efforts to combat COVID 19.

3. On November 29, 2019, the Hebei Overseas Chinese Federation issued an invitation letter to the “Panama Overseas Chinese and the Chinese Association for the Promotion of the Peaceful Reunification of China” and invited 19 youths from the association to participate in the 10-day “Seeking Roots Journey” winter camp. The Hebei Overseas Chinese Federation and Handan Overseas Chinese Federation paid for the activities, training, accommodations, transportation, and visits. One of the activities in this camp was to visit several of the CCP’s former revolution bases.

4. From June to September 2019, the Hebei Overseas Chinese Federation organized three sessions of the summer camp with a total of 134 participants. The Federation of Canadian Chinese Associations, the National Chinese School Association in U.S., and the Spanish Chinese and Western Culture and Art School sent students to participate in the 10-day “Seeking Roots Journey” summer camp.

5. Documents from the Handan Overseas Chinese Federation revealed that the organization has strengthened ties with overseas Chinese organizations, businessmen and leaders. It has established contacts with more than 100 overseas organizations including the British Hebei Association, the Chilean Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the Tanzania Chinese Chamber of Commerce, the Australian Hebei Chamber of Commerce, the Russian Hebei Chamber of Commerce, and the South American Confucius Institute. The Handan Overseas Chinese Federation also set up an official wechat account to “allow the overseas Chinese to hear the “voice of the party” and enable them to increase their political identification with the “Party’s ideology” and spread “China’s voice.”

6. Since 2019, the CCP has conducted in-depth investigations to compile a database of overseas Chinese who were originally from Ningxia, Shandong, Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Jiangsu, Guizhou and other provinces. It is believed that CCP will use the database to recruit spies or monitor overseas Chinese activities.

Source: Epoch Times, November 27, 2020
https://www.epochtimes.com/gb/20/11/27/n12579842.htm

Halifax International Security Forum: Chinese Communist Party Is the Virus that Endangers the World

On November 16, the Halifax International Security Forum (HFX), a think tank based in Halifax, Canada, published a Handbook for Democracies to support a shared understanding of the challenge that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) poses to freedom around the world. The title of the Handbook is China vs. Democracy: The Greatest Game.

“The year 2020 witnessed a paradigm shift in the democratic world’s understanding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP),” said Peter Van Praagh, HFX President. “The 2020 paradigm shift in people’s attitudes toward China was a concrete change from the old conventional wisdom that an economically vibrant China would progress toward more freedom for its people, to the new conventional wisdom that the Chinese Communist Party is, in fact, the virus that endangers the world.”

The report said, “HFX spent the past decade calling attention to the challenge China poses through panel discussions at our annual Forum in Halifax. It was not until 2020, however, with the emergence of the global coronavirus pandemic that began in Wuhan, China, and all the uncertainty that accompanied it, that people around the world began to understand the real threat—to our supply chains, to international organizations, to the open exchange of information, to the protection of confidential information, and to freedom of the seas and skies.”

To compile the report, HFX, between February and October 2020, conducted in-depth interviews with more than 250 global experts and policy-and decision-makers.

The report states, “Accordingly, the PRC is intent on undermining democracy abroad. While the CCP continues to target democracies such as the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, India, Japan, and Australia, it is Hong Kong and Taiwan that stand on the front-line of the PRC’s global assault on democracy; their very existence as democracies now hangs precariously in the balance.”

The report also states, “The PRC has committed to modernizing its military while growing bolder and more assertive geostrategically—and not just in Asia. What may sometimes look like innocent and incremental steps risk developing into a pattern that, in a decade or two, could transform the balance of military power as well as the relevance of alliances and partnerships among democracies.”

The report calls on the world’s democracies saying that they “must pursue a carefully considered yet robust push back—a push back that Xi’s China has brought upon itself. The CCP must recalibrate its global ambitions and step back from its ongoing assault on the world’s democracies.”

The handbook also features a set of principles that HFX will champion around the world to defend the values that underpin democratic societies. At the end of the handbook, it placed a list of practices that undermine its values and way of life and that the democratic world should defend itself from doing:

Ignoring China’s attempts to interfere with democratic societies;

Submitting to, collaborating with, or participating in any censorship or self-censorship of ideas, writings, artistic endeavors, or statements related to the People’s Republic of China;

Participating in any business or technology-related practices or exchanges that aid and abet Chinese Communist Party oppression of its own people;

Neglecting to oppose attempts by the People’s Republic of China to bring global governance of the internet and technological standards into alignment with its own authoritarian values and ambitions;

Supporting or engaging in any kind of punishment or sanction of anyone for engaging in criticism of china;

Failing to support democratically-minded people and governments around the world who the People’s Republic of China pressures or intimidates;

Knowingly buying or trading in Chinese products or services made with forced labor, or that are the result of criminal activities like counterfeiting or intellectual property theft.

Source: Halifax International Security Forum, November 16, 2020
https://halifaxtheforum.org/hfx-publishes-handbook-for-democracies-to-meet-china-challenge/

China’s Response to the “Five Eyes Alliance” Statement Concerning Hong Kong: Watch Out for Your Eyes

At the regular press conference of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China on the 19th, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian answered questions from reporters regarding the “Five Eyes Alliance” statement on Hong Kong, China-Australia relations, and U.S. documents on China.

A reporter asked: The foreign ministers of the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom issued a joint statement requesting the Chinese government to reconsider its actions against Hong Kong legislators and immediately restore the relevant membership qualifications. How does China respond to this?

Zhao Lijian said, “The Chinese never cause trouble, nor are they afraid of trouble. Regardless of whether they have ‘five eyes’ or ‘ten eyes,’ as long as they dare to harm China’s sovereignty, security and development interests, they should watch out for their eyes, or they will be pricked blind.”

Source:
China.com, November, 19, 2020
http://news.china.com.cn/txt/2020-11/19/content_76928439.htm

Must Religions in China Follow the Party Line?

No religious groups in China can escape the CCP’s control. On November 6, the Great Ci’en Temple in Xi’an organized sessions to study the key points from the fifth plenary session so its members could “maintain a high degree of compliance with Xi Jinping’s dictates while cultivating and practicing core socialist values and steadily promoting the process of the Sinicization of Buddhism.” In November 2019, nuns from the Thousand Buddha Pagodas of the Cloud Gate College of the Guangdong Buddhist University completed a similar session following the CCP’s fourth plenary session. According to a public announcement that the London-based human rights organization, Tibet Watch, made last month, at least two monastery management committees in the Tibet Autonomous Region forced monks to study the messages from the Seventh Tibet Work Forum.

Even though the constitution guaranteed the Chinese people freedom of religion, the reality is that religion is being further limited in its development in China. In 2017, the State Council issued a revised “Regulations on Religious Affairs,” which imposed tighter reviews on religious groups. The newly revised “Regulations” not only emphasizes restrictions on the setup of religious schools and the distribution of foreign religious books; it also clearly stipulates that all religious groups must register with the government and go through a strict financial auditing of its books. They are also required to be vigilant to restrict foreign forces from using religion to infiltrate China.

According to the statistics in a White Paper, “China’s Policies and Practices to Guarantee Freedom of Religious Belief,” which the State Council released in 2018, there are nearly 200 million religious believers in China, about 5,500 religious organizations, and more than 10,000 students in religious schools.

Source: Radio Free Asia, November 11, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/shehui/bx-11112020094152.html

New Indicator of CCP Official’s Performance Evaluation — Safeguarding Xi’s Core Position

China’s state media Xinhua News Agency reported on November 5 that the Organization Department of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) Central Committee has issued the “Notice on Improving the Performance Evaluation to Promote High-Quality Development.” The item listed in the notice requires CCP cadres to implement the “two safeguards” as a basic criterion for evaluating an officials’ performance. The so-called “two safeguards” are the slogans that the authorities put forward after Xi Jinping took office: “Safeguard Xi Jinping’s core position in the CCP Central Committee and the entire party; safeguard the authority of the CCP Central Committee and centralized leadership.”

According to the report, this notice required all regions and units to implement “Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era,” and implement the “Regulations on the Evaluation of the CCP and the Government’s Leading Cadres.”

The CCP Central Committee issued the full text of its “Work Regulations” in mid-October. This regulation requires that the Central Committee, the Politburo and their members take the lead in safeguarding “General Secretary Xi Jinping’s core position in the Central Committee and the entire party.”

Source: Central News Agency, November 5, 2020
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/firstnews/202011050337.aspx

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Demands Hong Kong Radio Stations Play China National Anthem

Under pressure from the Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) government, all three major Hong Kong radio stations announced that they will start playing the China  national anthem in the morning. Radio Hong Kong announced that it plans to start broadcasting the Chinese national anthem on its radio channels at 8 am starting on the 16th of this month. Commercial Radio and Metro Radio also said today that they will play the national anthem at 8 am.

In addition, the Education Bureau issued a notice to primary and secondary schools, telling the schools to organize activities to promote the “National Constitution Day” on December 4. The request received some concerns that the schools are already overloaded due to COVID and the request was merely a political task.

Source: Radio Free Asia, November 7, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/cantonese/news/htm/hk-anthem-11072020065629.html

Chinese Officials Sacked for “Carrying Politically Problematic Books”

China’s Hunan provincial government website announced on October 29 that Chen Zehui, a former deputy mayor of Changsha city, was expelled from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and transferred to the procuratorial organ for investigation and prosecution. The notice alleges that Chen violated political discipline and that he purchased books and periodicals from abroad, which had serious political problems, stored them privately, and read them for a long time. Other charges include the violation of the CCP’s code of conduct, the acceptance of gifts of particularly large amounts, and suspicion of taking bribes.

A highlighted charge is about purchasing and reading “banned books.” A civil rights activist Huang Xiaomin told Radio Free Asia that, “The purpose is definitely to nip it in the bud and punish a few individuals as an example to others. It is to intimidate officials who wanted to spread views dissenting from those of the CCP.  …  One main reason is that some open-minded officials are increasingly aware of the problems in the current Chinese society.”

Similar incidents occurred in Huainan city of Anhui province. According to the Supreme People’s Procuratorate’s website, in June, Li Zhong, the former deputy mayor of Huainan City along with a member of the CCP committee of the city government, were investigated and disciplined for violating political discipline, bringing in books and magazines with serious political problems into the country without permission, as well as embezzling public funds.

Another mainland Chinese newspaper Beijing News reported in March that Li Bin, a mid-level officer at Chongqing city’s police bureau, was probed for “serious violation of discipline and the law.” The authorities accused Li of “losing his ideals and secretly bringing books with serious political problems into the country and reading and storing them.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, November 2, 2020
https://www.rfa.org/mandarin/yataibaodao/zhengzhi/QL-11022020035358.html