This article was published by TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, March 2, 2021:
The latest interview with Natalie Winters, an investigative reporter for the National Pulse, revealed more of China’s successes in infiltrating the media and left-wing think tanks on Monday. In her 20-minute interview with the Epoch Times’ Joshua Philipp, she laid out exactly how effective, and insidious, this part of China’s United Front effort is in changing the narrative on China.
One of the most effective tools of China’s United Front — a strategy dating back to the days of Mao to present a false but persuasive and believable picture of China under Chinese Communist Party rule — is CUSEF, the China-United States Exchange Foundation.
Founded and funded by billionaire CCP member Tung Chee-hwa in 2008, the effectiveness of CUSEF was brought to light in late 2017 by Bethany Allen-Ibrahimian, an investigative reporter for Foreign Policy (FP):
[Through CUSEF] the Chinese Communist Party has sought to repress ideas it doesn’t like and to amplify those it does, and its efforts have met with growing success….
[CUSEF] conducts academic and professional exchanges, bringing U.S. journalists, scholars, and political and military leaders to mainland China … including the Brookings Institution … the Atlantic Council, the Center for American Progress … and the Carnegie Endowment for Peace.
One of CUSEF’s most effective tools is the granting of funding to left-wing think tanks. It’s based on what Peter Mattis, a fellow at the Jamestown Foundation (not on CUSEF’s favored list), calls “ecological change”: “If they cultivate enough people in the right places, they start to change the debate without having to directly inject their own voice.”
David Lampton, director of the China Studies Program at John Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and funded by CUSEF, is one of those “voices.” He has drunk the Chinese Communist Party’s Kool-Aid:
There are absolutely no conditions or limitations imposed upon [us] … by reason of a gift or otherwise. We have full confidence in the academic integrity and independence of these endeavors.
The very act of accepting funding from a nation that is arguably America’s enemy destroys Lampton’s claim to “integrity.” And being dependent upon CUSEF financially challenges his claim to be independent of pro-communist Chinese influence.
James Leibold, a professor at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia (also not on CUSEF’s donor list), made it clear exactly what’s going on: “What we’re talking about here is not Chinese influence per se, but the influence of the Chinese Communist Party.”
The U.S.-China Security and Economic Review Commission has spelled out CUSEF’s intentions: “to co-opt and neutralize sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority of its ruling Chinese Communist Party” and to get U.S. leaders “to take actions or adopt positions supportive of Beijing’s preferred policies.”
CUSEF is not shy about pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into these think tanks. It also pays PR firms to push the “trust us, we’re your friends” narrative into Congress. One such recipient, John Podesta, has links to the Clinton and Obama administrations. The firm he founded with his brother Tony received $668,000 in 2016 to lobby congress on the topic of “friendly China-U.S. relations,” and another half a million for the same purpose the following year.
One of CUSEF’s lobbying arms, BLJ Worldwide, registered as a foreign agent, expanded on just whom it is touching, and how:
BLJ has … helped CUSEF to engage openly with academic and thought leaders, including through the use of salon style dinners. We also supported trips to China for the following media outlets:
CUSEF also enjoys the support of the far-left Congressional Black Caucus, according to Winters:
Members of this caucus, which include [Vice President] Kamala Harris, include “Squad” members like [Rep.] Ilhan Omar, they have actually sent their student-age constituents to China on these sponsored trips, the same ones that the media outlets have been going on. They toured Huawei facilities. It’s absolutely astounding.
The propaganda effort is working, said Winters. Following one of the trips, one of the students wrote glowingly of life under communism:
In one of the posts, one of the poor girls who went on the trip … talked about how China is an “amazing communist country” that outperforms the United States in virtually every level. So that is propaganda at its absolute finest.
To his credit, Donald Trump shut down five CCP groups infiltrating the media, the left-wing think tanks, and the educational system, including CUSEF.