Democracies still don’t understand the CCP’s political warfare

Democracies still don’t understand the CCP’s political warfare. By Kerry Gershaneck.

China is an expansionist, hyper-nationalistic, militarily powerful, brutally repressive, fascist, and totalitarian state. It is essential to understand each word in that indisputable description. The CCP poses an existential threat to the freedom and democracy that India and the US represent. …

Cold war? We are in another?

During the Cold War, the US used to be pretty good at fighting totalitarian political warfare, which is a key reason the Free World won that prolonged Cold War with the USSR. … But we abandoned those skills in the early 1990s, when we naively assumed the collapse of the Soviet Union meant we had won and that there would never be a threat again from a totalitarian communist regime.

The communist Soviet regime had collapsed but not the CCP. The CCP studied the Soviet Union’s collapse closely and learned lessons regarding how to keep its totalitarian system alive. And it vastly improved its political warfare capabilities to ensure that it could overcome the democracies’ efforts to reform the PRC to help it to become like them. …

Both India and the US have pro-China factions, for reasons ranging from simple greed to leftist, pro-totalitarian ideology. Consequently, it has been difficult to develop a national consensus to fight Beijing’s malign influence. But this lack of will and ability to confront it almost guarantees ultimate victory for the PRC.

What is political warfare?

From the CCP perspective, PW is total war — it is unrestricted warfare using every means just short of large-scale military combat. … In essence, the PRC says that everything, legal or illegal, is permissible in order to achieve its ends.

Specific examples the PRC gives of how to conduct its unrestricted warfare include biological and chemical warfare and terrorism, means particularly pertinent to note and consider in the Covid-19 era.

The list of weapons the PRC employs is long. It includes propaganda, psychological warfare, media warfare, disinformation, corruption, economic and sexual enticement, and coercion. It also includes active measures such as hybrid warfare, proxy armies, assassination, kidnapping, and brutal physical attacks. The PRC’s PW doctrine also includes concepts such as lawfare (using international and national laws, bodies and courts to shape decision making in the CCP’s favour), cyberattacks, terrorism, espionage, bribery, censorship, deception, subversion, blackmail, enforced disappearances (kidnapping, abduction), attacks by criminal gangs, and hybrid warfare. …

How much of “woke” is just Chinese propaganda?

The PRC uses social media to amplify its psychological warfare, intimidation, coercion, and propaganda. With social media, the CCP floods societies with propaganda and disinformation to weaken people’s faith in democracy and create political instability. In pursuit of social media dominance, the PRC has established a PLA cyber force of perhaps 300,000 soldiers as well as a netizen “50 Cent Army” of perhaps 2 million individuals who are paid a nominal fee to make comments on social media sites supporting CCP propaganda and coercion. In conjunction with the PLA Strategic Support Force, many of these so-called “netizens” use social media to intimidate and coerce multinational corporations, celebrities, foreign governments and organizations, and critics of PRC genocide and expansionism.

Our politicians and media dance to the tune of social media, oblivious to the fact that it’s largely astro-turfing by China’s online army of two million paid commenters. And they think it’s public opinion! How naive.

This is all part of the CCP’s totalitarian thought control. The CCP employs thought control tactics internally to control its 1.3 billion subjects, such as the CCP’s internal censorship of western search applications and the use of social networks to savagely repress dissent and non-CCP approved thought.

These tactics are now routinely employed abroad. For example, university professors in India and the US routinely self-censor when it comes to the PRC, for a number of reasons. Some are ideological: they simply support the PRC’s totalitarian model. Others fear any criticism will damage their prospects for obtaining visas to the PRC or invitations to high-status conferences. Yes, this constitutes both intellectual dishonesty and moral cowardice, but it is a fact of life in both India and the US.

via Australian Political Skeptic