Nov 24, 2017

The little-known department peddling Chinese government agitprop around the world

You've probably never heard of the United Front Work Department, but you've probably seen their work.

Michael Sainsbury — Freelance correspondent in Asia and <em>Little Red Blog</em> Editor

Michael Sainsbury

Freelance correspondent in Asia and Little Red Blog Editor

Xi Jinping

The all-powerful, all-knowing Chinese Communist Party (CCP) recently revealed that it had set up a branch at the University of California’s Davis campus. The news caused consternation among academics in the US and, indeed, around the world.

The intention was to create a branch that Chinese academics from around the US, who were concerned about the way China’s image was being projected, could join. Although it was dissolved within a week following fears its establishment might have breached local laws, its brief existence served as the latest reminder of the already significant network of soft power China wields through political donations, Chinese language media ownership and the blandly named — but immensely powerful — United Front Work Department (UFWD). It is unlikely to be the last such attempt.

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6 thoughts on “The little-known department peddling Chinese government agitprop around the world

  1. old greybearded one

    Yep, that would be it and I swear every time I see another piece of Fairfax China crap I want to burn the SMH it came in. We need also to call out these China apologists like Bob Carr. China has sovereignty over who can work in Australia according to the ChFTA. I expect a lot of Chinese will be at the Adani site on that basis. CHina has no intention of playing by any kind of rules, as they have no rule of law and by Harry we need to remember that.

    1. Will

      That’s a little bit rough on the SMH, Old GO. Peter Hartcher’s commentary piece in the SMH yesterday was entirely in agreement with Bernard’s piece here yesterday. If anything, more distrusting.

  2. Will

    One suspects the One Belt One Road project is intended to transform plenty of countries into puppet states of China. Only a fool or a shill would doubt China’s neo-imperialist ambitions. The question is, what can stop them?

    1. CML

      Perhaps we could start by banning ‘workers’ coming into this country from China?
      That would include ALL academics, unless they can prove they have NO links with Chinese government organisations that wish to ignore academic freedom of thought and ideas.
      The refusal to publish Clive Hamilton’s book is outrageous!!

  3. AR

    The Han are quite keen nativists and would expect no less of us.
    That we would act in our own best interests, and construe laws accordingly, would be unexceptional as they would, as currently, do the same.

  4. Peter Hannigan

    Asian Wikipedia has a nice definition of a ‘united front’ as work to “rally as many allies as possible in order to… defeat a common enemy”. A more accurate definition in line with Marxist theory and the practice of united fronts might be ‘to rally and cooperate with useful idiots until you are strong enough to dispose of them and take over’. However since China is no longer Marxist but just a form of state capitalism with communist characteristics it seems a united front is now just another part of the security apparatus.

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