Congress Warns of China’s Espionage and Propaganda Threat Inside the U.S.
In a stark warning, Congress has released a memo revealing that the U.S. lacks a comprehensive understanding of the depth of China’s espionage and influence operations within the nation. The Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) united front system, described by President Xi Jinping as his ‘magic weapon,’ poses a significant threat. The bipartisan House China Select Committee highlights the inadequacy of the U.S. government’s response and the potential for the situation to worsen.
China invests billions annually in its united front system, with around 600 affiliated groups operating in the U.S., maintaining regular contact with the CCP. According to the memo, “United front work damages U.S. interests through legal and illegal technology transfer, surveillance of Chinese diaspora communities, promotion of favorable narratives about the [People’s Republic of China] through ostensibly independent voices, and the neutralization or harassment of critics of the CCP. The United States has no direct analogue, and the U.S. Government has struggled to counter united front work with traditional counterintelligence, law enforcement, and diplomatic tools.”
The committee’s memo emphasizes the importance of vigilance among Americans targeted by China’s influence operations. Chairman Mike Gallagher underscores the little-understood aspect of the CCP’s misinformation and propaganda efforts, emphasizing the united front system’s role in these endeavors. The background memo serves as a guide for addressing and countering these threats.
The united front strategy aims to facilitate China’s takeover of Taiwan and establish a global order aligned with CCP values. The United Front Work Department (UFWD), reporting to the CCP, controls ostensibly non-governmental groups, academic institutions, non-profits, and media. The UFWD plays a central role in policies such as the ‘Sinicization’ of ethnic minorities, including the Uyghur genocide.
The memo exposes how the UFWD employs affiliated groups to monitor and track Uyghurs, counter criticism of its treatment of the Muslim minority, and exert control over overseas Chinese-language media outlets. The networks built by the UFWD become operational grounds for the PRC’s intelligence agencies, supporting espionage and influence operations.
The committee warns that united front work targets key groups, including members of China’s minor parties, non-affiliated individuals, non-CCP intellectuals, ethnic minorities, religious leaders, business leaders, and ethnic Chinese abroad. Recent instances of Chinese operatives running illegal police stations in the U.S. to spy on dissidents highlight the severity of the threat.
The report concludes by cautioning against the close coordination between the CCP and U.S. schools, revealing that the CCP has injected approximately $17 million into K-12 schools across the country. Confucius Classrooms established in collaboration with U.S. schools have raised concerns about Chinese influence near military bases and in top science and technology high schools.
As concerns over China‘s espionage and propaganda activities intensify, the memo urges a more robust and strategic response from the U.S. government to safeguard its interests and democratic values.