最新一期的美国《新闻周刊》，更以「习近平密谋颠覆美国─600个担心中国的理由」为标题，发布4个月来针对约20位分析师、政府官员和中美专家采访的调查结果。作者是德国外交政策协会（German Council on Foreign Relations）资深研究员狄雨霏（Didi Kirsten Tatlow）。
美国联邦调查局（FBI）局长克里斯多福．瑞伊（Christopher Wray）今年夏天在哈德逊研究所（Hudson Institute）的一次演讲中表示，FBI每10个小时展开一次与中国有关的调查，在美国有近5千例反情报案件中，几乎有一半与中国有关。
美国智库「詹姆斯城基金会」（Jamestown Foundation）研究员费达苏克（Ryan Fedasiuk）表示，中国2019年的统战预算超过26亿美元（约新台币740亿元），其中有6亿专门用于针对海外中国社区和外国人工作，统战部的总预算超出中国外交部全年预算。
Exclusive: 600 U.S. Groups Linked to Chinese Communist Party Influence Effort with Ambition Beyond Election
BY DIDI KIRSTEN TATLOW ON 10/26/20 AT 7:28 AM EDT
Over the summer, as both the Trump and Biden campaigns ramped up efforts to win the most controversial presidential election in decades, Laura Daniels, Jessi Young and Erin Brown also got busy, posting critical comments about American politics and society on Twitter and other social media platforms. They tweeted about mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. They posted about racial injustice. And they shared their views (not good) of the personal and political scandals dogging President Donald Trump.
That last part was especially odd—until you consider that the women weren’t actually women at all but rather bots and trolls used in a systematic campaign by groups affiliated with China to sow division and unrest in the U.S. ahead of the 2020 election. An analysis this summer of thousands of such Twitter and Facebook posts by the International Cyber Policy Center of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute described them as part of a program of “cross-platform inauthentic activity, conducted by Chinese-speaking actors and broadly in alignment with the political goal of the People’s Republic of China to denigrate the standing of the U.S.”
The fake accounts are just one example of what appears to be stepped-up activity by groups associated with China as Election Day gets closer. Over the past six weeks, for example, both Google and Microsoft have reported attempted cyber attacks linked to Beijing that targeted individuals who worked with the Biden and Trump campaigns. However, unlike Russian interference in 2016, which worked to bolster Trump’s chances of election, most of the activity stemming from China does not clearly favor one candidate over the other. Instead, it seems designed, as William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, puts it, “to shape the policy environment in the United States, pressure political figures it views as opposed to China’s interest, and deflect and counter criticism.”
Experts say the election-related activity is just a small part of a much larger and deeper campaign of influence and interference by China that’s been taking place over many years—and is a far more worrisome threat long-term. Interviews with some two dozen analysts, government officials and other U.S.-China specialists, as part of a four-month investigation by Newsweek, suggest there are myriad other ways in which the Communist Party of China (CPC) and other government-linked entities have been working, through multiple channels in the U.S. at the federal, state and local level, to foster conditions and connections that will further Beijing’s political and economic interests and ambitions.
Those channels include businesses, universities and think tanks, social and cultural groups, Chinese diaspora organizations, Chinese-language media and WeChat, the Chinese social media and messaging app, says John Garnaut, an Australian political analyst and expert on global CPC interference. Separately, Newsweek has identified about 600 such groups in the U.S., all in regular touch with and guided by China’s Communist Party—a larger-scale version of a pattern found in other countries around the world.
The scope of alleged activities is enormous, involving social and business gatherings, extensive information campaigns and building political and economic ties that can be leveraged to Beijing’s gain—recent reports of Hunter Biden’s business dealings with a Chinese energy company eager to connect with his father and President Trump’s secret Chinese bank account are just the latest high-profile examples that some China watchers find worrisome. There are also accusations of large-scale economic espionage. In a speech this summer at the Hudson Institute, F.B.I. director Christopher Wray said the agency opens a China-connected investigation every 10 hours and that, of nearly 5,000 active counterintelligence cases in the U.S., almost half are related to China.
Chinese authorities claim the U.S. distorts its dealings with local community groups, and vehemently deny they are interfering in U.S. internal affairs. But U.S. authorities and U.S.-China experts stand their ground. “Justice, State, the F.B.I., they’re peeling back the layers that have been hiding some of these organizations and activities” says Dean Boyd, chief communications executive at the National Counterintelligence and Security Center. As he tells Newsweek, “The influencing has been going on non-stop, and it’s not happening in a vacuum. There is an election coming up.”
Sowing the Seeds of Division
If the tweets of “Jessi Young” and her friends were all you had to go on, China-linked efforts to manipulate U.S. public opinion in advance of the election might be easy to dismiss as amateurish and ineffective.
The Chinese actors involved, for instance, made no attempt to create realistic profiles for the owners of the 200 to 300 Twitter accounts involved, plus 60 or so more on Facebook. And while the messages, posted between February and July of this year, focused on important issues dividing the country, they were so crudely translated into English, without a feel for American tone or cadence, that the possibilities for engagement seemed limited.
A sampling: “‘Janky System’ is a stupid, failed system!” “Patricia Smith” tweeted, along with a photo of Americans voting. “The Trump Administration has gone so far as to sacrifice our lives to get back to work to make the Dow Jones look good that they now treat us like human beings?” “Sonia Mason” tweeted, complaining about federal response to the pandemic. “The overflow of freedom has created the situation today,” said “Laura Daniels” in response to a tweet about a report on religion by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
“The Chinese are not really good at making fake social media accounts,” says Ho-fung Hung, a professor of sociology at Johns Hopkins University and author of The China Boom: Why China Will Not Rule the World. “The language is not very convincing.” In fact, the Cyber Policy Centre found that, of the 2,240 tweets it analyzed, 99 percent got fewer than two likes, replies and retweets.
But while this particular campaign may not have hit the mark, some of the broad strategies it employed are ones that China uses quite effectively in other contexts—tactics very different from the techniques that Russia has used in its election interference efforts. The social posts from Chinese actors did not have a clear partisan lean—for instance, they promoted messages in support of both the Black Lives Matter and pro-police Blue Lives Matter movements. The point was not to take a side but rather to boost divisiveness by amplifying competing, emotionally-charged view points.
Nor did the Chinese campaign typically spread disinformation. Instead it commonly shared authentic content from legitimate news sources like The New York Times and MSNBC, along with tweets from civil rights groups, that highlighted racial divisions and inequality in the U.S.
“If people in the U.S. are looking [to China] for a repeat of Russia in 2016, they will be disappointed,” says Garnaut. “That’s not what China does. They repurpose, they don’t smash.” In other words, the CPC is not out to destroy the U.S., experts say, but rather to change or subvert it from within, and foster a positive view of China, in contrast to the apparent chaos in America.
“They are very determined and very organized,” says Anna Puglisi, a senior fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology and a former national counterintelligence officer for East Asia. “We [in America] don’t think in these ways. It flies in the face of how people in the U.S. see the world.”
While China’s influence efforts around the election have mostly centered on process vs. outcome, U.S. intelligence officials believe it’s clear the country’s leaders do have a favorite in the race. Lately Beijing has stepped up negative rhetoric about the Trump administration, harshly criticizing the White House on its statements and actions on Hong Kong and TikTok, among other things, and blasting its COVID-19 response. “We assess that China prefers that President Trump—whom China sees as unpredictable—does not win reelection,” said Evanina, the government counterintelligence director, in a statement this August. The Global Times, which is owned by the CPC’s People’s Daily newspaper, has also made it clear that China favors the Democratic candidate, saying in a recent article, “Tactically, the US approach would be more predictable, and Biden is much smoother to deal with than Trump.”
Another reason China would prefer to deal with the Democrats: The Biden ranks include many people from the previous two Obama administrations, during which China made great strides on the world stage and experienced little opposition. Anti-China sentiment has heated up in the U.S. since then, as Trump very publicly addressed trade, influence and espionage problems, ensuring that China policy going forward will be more critical, no matter who occupies the White House—but it’s not clear if the Democrats are willing to challenge China quite as deeply, if they win.
Influence at the Local Level
Two particular members of the Trump entourage who have been thorns in the CPC’s side are Pompeo and his policy adviser Miles Yu, who together have led the administration’s broad pushback against China. Lately Pompeo has been sounding an alarm about a key focus of CPC activity in the U.S.— interference in politics, business and community at the state and local level.
In February, for example, Pompeo warned the National Governors Association at a meeting in Washington D.C. that the CPC was identifying and grooming state and local politicians who would support its interests. A Chinese think tank had already graded governors on their “friendliness,” Pompeo said. Newsweek obtained and translated a copy of the 2019 report, which labeled 17 governors as “friendly;” called 14 “ambiguous,” deemed six as “hardline” and the rest “unclear.” Pompeo told the governors, “Whether you are viewed by the CPC as friendly or hardline, know that it’s working you, know that it’s working the team around you.”
Six months later, at a meeting of economists and sociologists in Zhongnanhai, a secretive leaders’ compound in Beijing, Xi told more than a dozen top economists and sociologists that China would double down on seeking “cooperation” with U.S. politicians and business leaders at the states and local level, exactly what Pompeo had warned about. “We must actively develop cooperation with all countries, regions and enterprises willing to cooperate with us, including states, localities and enterprises in the United States,” Xi said, according to Xinhua, the state news agency.