“The Good Friends of China” — How does China Sway Other Countries?

From rather clumsy beginnings the Chinese government has become very skilful in the way it exerts influence on the policy making process of the countries it deals with. It uses not only a wide variety of means but also recruits civilian actors like students, business associations and so on. In this episode we will be looking at a very sophisticated strategy that Beijing uses to influence other countries: the United Front.

The United Front developed by the Chinese Communist Party has had a century’s history. It aims at engaging individuals and make them work for Beijing´s benefit unknowingly. America’s leaders, for a long time, stressed that engagement would lead to a more democratic China. After decades of engagement, American business people and politicians have become too dependent on China to challenge it. And the presence of Chinese government’s influence and will can be felt in many corners of the society and cultural and academic sphere.

In this episode, we talked with Isaac Stone Fish, American author and China expert on this topic. We looked at the lesser known but highly effective strategies China uses to sway other countries, how China understands the vulnerabilities that are an integral part of the openness of democratic systems, and how the latter could protect itself from foreign influence. 

This episode is edited by Aaditya Surve.

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