I've repeatedly made the point that CCP influence campaigns strongly resemble corporate PR/marketing/thought leadership campaigns, combining public messaging with identification/cultivation/utilization of useful individuals. Huawei is just that point taken to its logical extreme.
The CCP has placed a strong emphasis on detailed understanding of human terrain for a *long* time. It's part of how they won the dual front war against the KMT and Japan. Here's the Central United Front Work Department writing on November 2, 1940:
"In the past there was a lack of conscientious investigation and deep understanding of the targets of united front work. We have to carry out a general analysis and have a general understanding of each party, group, stratum, friendly army, etc.; and we must carry out..."
"a many-sided, deep, and detailed investigation of the figures actually representative of each party, group, stratum, friendly army, agency, circle, and body. A detailed investigation and separate written record is to be made of these persons: name, age, native place..."
"financial activities, history, changes in thought, political activities, habits, character, peculiarities, social relationships, etc. Without this kind of investigation and record, united front work will become empty and unrealistic."
All this just sounds like a more intense/invasive version of the key opinion leader mapping and outreach that PR firms do. Not surprising at all that Huawei is doing the same, given that it's the heir to *both* traditions: CCP political influence and Western corporate thought.
(Translation taken from "Enemies and Friends: The United Front in Chinese Communist History" by Lyman Van Slyke, which is the most recent serious scholarly book published on the United Front in the United States. The fact that it came out in 1967 says something in and of itself.)
What UFWD was telling its people to do 80 years ago was, basically, to build a social graph on potential partners/enemies. News like this reads differently when you consider it in that light. (h/t @jmulvenon) nbcnews.com/politics/justi…

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More from @MattSchrader_DC

17 Sep
UFWD-related mistakes aside, Ryan's is the latest in a series of rather odd articles claiming the CCP isn't particularly ideological or that our policy response shouldn't emphasize its ideology. I think this maybe stems from a misunderstanding of what ideology is to the CCP.
In the Anglosphere we typically use the word "ideologue" to describe someone absolutely set on bringing about a particular set of political *ends*. So we apply the term to people who are passionately pro-choice or anti-gun or whatever, describe them pejoratively as "ideological".
People who obsess over the *means* of getting and keeping power may or may not be ideologues in this framing. Barack Obama couldn't have become president without being absolutely committed to the acquisition of power, but he's not usually thought of as super ideological.
Read 9 tweets
21 Aug
This thread actually answers a question I've had about the craziest instance of PRC interference abroad to date that I know of: tip-top PRC officials' offer to bail out Malaysian PM Najib Razak from financial and political trouble in 2016. Strap in, we're going on a ride.
The whole thing is super complicated but you should read this @TomWrightAsia/@bradleyhope piece for the details wsj.com/articles/how-c…
Shortened version: top PRC economic/security officials told Razak that they would help pay off debts on his scandal-ridden 1MDB sovereign wealth fund, give him with intel on ppl in his gov't leaking to the WSJ, and make a US Department of Justice investigation into 1MDB go away.
Read 21 tweets
19 Aug
This might read like a shot across the bow of folks like @SheenaGreitens and @rorytruex who've done work on self-censorship in the China field, but it's not. Rather, it's a suggestion that there might be an opportunity for further research by them or others in the field (1/x)
on a question their paper doesn't get into very deeply: how pressures from universities, peers, or other institutions *in home countries* might affect researchers' career incentives, and/or their decisions to self-censor (or to speak out) on China. (2/x)
Their previous paper looked primarily at experiences of repression or self-censorship among academics as a result of direct interactions with the Chinese government. The heart of the survey is this set of questions: (3/x)
Read 12 tweets
10 Aug
Thread about Li Zhanshu (currently the #3 person on the CCP Politburo Standing Committee), and why we shouldn't be shocked at what's happening in Hong Kong right now.
Li is Xi Jinping's guy through and through. Xi brought him to Beijing from the provinces in 2012 to run the CCP's General Office. It's an obscure job outside China, but massively important, like an uber-chief of staff (viz this great 2015 article on Li by @ZiYangResearch )
(link to full article here, definitely worth a read: thediplomat.com/2015/01/the-em…)
Read 18 tweets
25 Jun
Bookmarked this tweet on Tuesday because I wanted to come back to it with a thread on a historical example demonstrating how the transition of UF work from secret to open is deliberate, and is part of the strategy the Party follows in subverting its enemies. /thread
One of my favorite sources on this is Liu Shaoqi in 1939. When he wrote this essay "On Open and Secret Work" he was in charge of all underground Party work in the "white" areas of China (meaning the parts under KMT or Japanese control). drive.google.com/file/d/1ecpoPd…
In it, he lays out very clearly the purpose of secrecy, when Party work should be open and secret, and what are the factors that mediate the transition between the two states.
Read 21 tweets
19 Apr
For those keeping score at home, Sun Lijun was the guy who (among other things) offered Malaysia the take from the PSB's full-spectrum surveillance of Wall Street Journal reporters in Hong Kong wsj.com/articles/how-c…
I bring this story up every chance I get because it is, frankly, insane. Idea behind Sun's offer was the Malaysian government would use the fruits of PRC spying on WSJ reporters to root out the WSJ's sources in the Malaysian government providing info on the troubled 1MDB fund.
In return Malaysia would sign on to huge Belt and Road Infrastructure projects at "above market" price tags. China would also help pay off debt from 1MDB bonds and would lean on the US to make a DOJ investigation of the fund go away.
Read 4 tweets

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