What China is trying to do by sending representatives linked to UFWD
New Delhi, Sep 14: China has been upping the ante with aggressive posturing. Now comes the posting of hardcore ambassadors in a bid to influence South Asia.
China has sent Nong Rong as ambassador to Pakistan. Rong is closely associated with the United Front Works Department (UFWD), where Chinese President, Xi Jingping served for many years. The mandate of the UFWD is influencing political, economic and intellectuals in other countries. They largely achieve their mandates by penetrating into the system of a country.
The current Chinese representative in Bangladesh Li Jiming and former ambassador to. Sri Lanka Cheng Xueyuan also had links with the UFWD. The UFWD was created during the Chinese Civil War and then re-established in 1979 under Deng Xiaoping. Since the year 2012, the role of the UFWD was expanded and intensified under Xi.
The UFWD has over 40,000 personnel and it oversees eight minor and subordinate parties and the All China Federation of Industry and Commerce. The organisation has also taken a leading role in anti-religious campaigns in China under the garb of sinicizing religions.
A 2018 report by the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission said that the UFWD regularly attempts to suppress overseas protests and acts of expression critical of the Communist Party of China.
In May 2020, the White House released a report titled, "US Strategic Approach the People's Republic of China which stated that the CCP United Front Organisations and agents target businesses, universities, think-tanks, scholars, journalists and local state and federal officials in the United States and around the world. The report said that this is an attempt to influence discourse and restrict external influence inside the PRC.
In June 2020, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute issued a report advocating a multi dimensional response involving law enforcement as well as legislative reform for greater transparency of foreign influence operations. In the same month, the Republican Study Committee in the United States called for sanctions on the UFWD and its top leadership.
Under Xi, the UFWD became more centred on promoting him and his key idea known as the Xi Jinping Thought. It also focuses on the social stability and China's national rejuvenation. This also includes the claims over the South China Sea, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan.
Sending Rong to Pakistan also means that a clear message is being sent out on the Belt and Road Initiative. This also would mean that China wants to reduce India's civilisational influence and push for the BRI in a very aggressive manner.
Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party is Reshaping the World by Clive. Hamilton and Marieke Ohlberg reveals how the Chinese Communist Party has been spreading its tentacles to subvert the democratic world and also pursue its agenda of global dominance. It also says that the UFWD work is carried out by a network of party agencies and organisations that are linked to the party. The UFWD which has formed 100s of organisations in various countries gather information to feed the Chinese consulates. Further espionage activities are closely integrated into those influence operations. This includes information on personal lives, health status, political affiliations and sexual proclivities of leaders, businessmen, opinion makers, university heads. This is used to build personal profiles and also coerce targets.