In my first article for @ChinaBriefJT, I mapped the budget of China's united front, the collection of organizations the CCP leverages to silence political opponents, persecute religious minorities, and acquire foreign tech.

Here is what I found (1/9):…
(2/9) For years, Chinese diplomats have insisted that the united front is nothing more than a benign administrative bureaucracy and accused Western analysts of overhyping its role.

But the CCP's own public budget documents belie its claims about the UF's importance and function.
(3/9) For @ChinaBriefJT, I analyzed 160 budget reports from organizations involved in China's central and provincial united front systems.

The central 🇨🇳 government's UF spending exceeds $1.4 billion USD each year—and probably even surpasses the budget of @MFA_China.
(4/9) Next to CPPCCs, Ethnic and Religious Affairs Commissions (ERACs) in each province receive the most funding of any UF organization. They are official gov offices dual hatted with CCP staff, tasked with persecuting religious minorities, especially in the Western provinces.
(5/9) Let's not pretend like this isn't the point of the united front. This public, **1,800-page** CPPCC Work Manual lays out the UF's goals quite clearly. Plenty of other internal docs cited in my @ChinaBriefJT paper highlight the UF's goals and MO.…
(6/9) UF budget documents state explicitly that Hong Kongers, Taiwanese, and and overseas Chinese are the UF's primary targets outside China, and are subject to its monitoring and influence.

Before it was absorbed, the central OCAO had a budget of $376 million USD just for this.
(7/9) In light of the facts, I'd ask this question:

If there's really nothing nefarious going on with the united front, why do some provinces feel compelled to classify information about their UFs as secret? And why does an "admin org" occupy so much of the 🇨🇳 gov's resources?
(8/9) For full transparency, I am releasing the 160 united front budget documents I analyzed in the course of this report, for the central CCP and all 31 provinces of China.

I encourage other analysts to comb through them with keener eyes than mine.…
(9/9) As always, my DMs are open for anyone looking to learn more about this project.

Special thanks to many people at @CSETGeorgetown who reviewed the draft, and @alexjoske for his foundational research and input on methodology.

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More from @RyanFedasiuk

7 Sep
This week @GeorgetownCSS we review foundational texts on Chinese strategic thinking -- Sun Tzu, Sun Bin, and others. But how heavily do these texts weigh on China's military, compared to, say, Clausewitz? Is there value in comparing 🇺🇸 and 🇨🇳 strategic culture in 2020? (1/6)
Eurocentrism in IR and security studies programs has penetrated global military thinking, in ways I don't think Western academics appreciate.

Why do we assume Sun Tzu matters more to China's (modern) strategic thought than Western military strategists? (2/6)
If you read through papers by Chinese military officers, it's clear Clausewitz is nearly as foundational for the PLA as he is for the U.S. services.

Still, these 123 academic papers might not be representative of broader Chinese military thinking (3/6):
Read 6 tweets
26 Aug
This summer, @CSETGeorgetown has been publishing a whirlwind of papers about #AI and China's efforts to acquire it. Some projects have been months or years in the making. In case you missed them, here's a roundup of data-driven analyses I'm proud to have contributed to:
2/ On the military side of things, we wanted to know how PLA officers and defense engineers envision using AI in future warfare. It turns out the PLA is facing major hurdles in AI development: limited access to data, workforce issues, and a dearth of GPUs:…
3/ That dovetails nicely with a more fundamental question: How is data used in military applications of AI, and can we measure whether 🇺🇸 or 🇨🇳 has a "data advantage"? With @HsjChahal and @carrickflynn, we uncovered the messy reality:…
Read 8 tweets

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