NewsWorldThese Chinese think tanks swarming in the service of...

These Chinese think tanks swarming in the service of “Xi Jinping’s thought” – archyworldys


The field of ideas is another active front of the Chinese offensive outside its borders, as described by the investigation of the Strategic Research Institute of the Military School (Irsem) on “operations of influence. Chinese ”. China’s strategy is to set up branches of Chinese think tanks abroad, and to find relays among local structures to convey the image of a global and technologically advanced power. This double offensive accelerated from 2017 and Xi Jinping’s speech, during the 19e Congress, which marked China’s entry into a “new era”. The Chinese number one then urges to “Build new think tanks with Chinese characteristics”.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also How China is toughening its influence war to demonstrate its power

A large part of them operate under the banner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the sprawling “New Silk Roads” project enshrined in the Chinese Constitution. In fact, they often do nothing more than advertise it – like the Fudan Institute of Belt and Road Global Governance. Researcher David Bandurski, who has devoted a study to this subject, recalls that its president is none other than the former party leader of the university of the same name, one of the largest in Shanghai. “All these new think tanks, he explains, are linked in one way or another to the state party, if only for matters of registration and supervision.

This dependence has implications when they seek to participate in forums abroad, or when they propose and sign cooperation agreements. A strategy that ” allows both to establish their respectability and to disseminate the official narratives », Recall Paul Charon and Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer, authors of the Irsem study.

Complicit structures

Among the local relays of Chinese operations, the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (IRIS) stood out in France by co-organizing three sessions, in 2017, 2018 and 2019, of the Paris Forum on the BRI with the Embassy of China and Chinese think tanks. This gave the event the appearance “ lobbying operation in favor of the Chinese project », Any critical reading of it has no place. For its part, note the authors, the Prospective and Innovation Foundation, today chaired by Jean-Pierre Raffarin – friend of China par excellence –, “Takes over and propagates many of the stories constructed by the party”, including the “win-win” and “community of destiny” concepts promoted by Beijing.

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