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Media Report
December 14 , 2017
  • The Washington Post reports: “For more than a year, Americans have fretted over the extent to which Russia influenced the outcome of last year's presidential election... But, in the longer term, U.S. strategists may be less worried about the influence of Moscow abroad than that of Beijing. On Wednesday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) convened a hearing on the 'Long Arm of China,' focusing on China's capacity to launch influence operations abroad to gain leverage over democratic rivals. 'We have a lot of discussion of Russian interference in our elections, but the Chinese efforts to influence our public policy and our basic freedoms are much more widespread than most people realize,' Rubio told my colleague Josh Rogin ahead of the session... China is, of course, a world power, and it is natural for it to cultivate extensive ties in foreign lands. Chinese investments and other soft-power influences have factored into election campaigns in developing countries as diverse as Zambia, Peru and Nepal. That is a reality Americans can hardly begrudge, given their own nation's lengthy history of meddling in elections elsewhere. In many cases, China's interests are primarily economic. As new studies point out, its cultivation of foreign assets follows rather traditional lines: making connections through people-to-people exchanges, wooing the political elite with generous gifts and hospitality, and using partnerships with local universities and its vast network of Chinese government-sponsored Confucius Institutes to influence attitudes about China abroad."
  • Newsweek reports: “China’s envoy to Russia has praised the increasingly powerful relationship between the two countries as both the strongest and most important ties between two major states. Beijing’s man in Moscow also took the opportunity to offer a veiled slight at Washington. Chinese Ambassador to Russia Li Hui spoke Wednesday at a government news conference organized in response to the results of the 19th Chinese Communist Party Congress in October. Russia and China, the two leading diplomatic and military rivals of the U.S., have been pursuing greater relations in past years as they both embark on initiatives to modernize their forces and assume a more assertive role in international politics. 'The Chinese-Russian relations of comprehensive strategic cooperation and partnership are the most important bilateral relations in the world and, moreover, the best relations between big countries,' Li told the state-run Tass Russian News Agency, which hosted the gathering. 'One can say that they are a classic example of the healthiest and most mature interstate relations and an important force to protect peace and stability throughout the world'... As Chinese President Xi Jinping expanded his nation’s sphere of influence, his country has accused the U.S. of portraying this rise as a malicious one. Trump has tried to boost cooperation between the two, but mostly in regard to the nuclear crisis between the U.S. and North Korea, during which China has appeared most eager to work with Russia to reach a political framework.”
  • The New York Times comments: "To taste a future without net neutrality, try browsing the web in Beijing. China’s internet, provided through telecom giants aligned with the Communist Party, is a digital dystopia, filtered by the vast censorship apparatus known as China’s Great Firewall. Some sites load with soul-withering slowness, or not at all. Others appear instantly. Content vanishes without warning or explanation. The culprit is rarely knowable. A faulty Wi-Fi router? A neighborhood power failure? Commercial sabotage? A clampdown on political dissent? To most Chinese netizens, the reason matters little. They simply gravitate to the few sites that aren’t slowed or blocked entirely: the Chinese counterparts of Facebook, Google, and Twitter. But these Chinese platforms come with heavy government surveillance and censorship by corporate and party apparatchiks. For the Communist Party and its commercial allies, this is win-win, cementing respective monopolies on political markets and consumer power. The Trump administration’s plan to dismantle net neutrality regulations has brought this nightmare scenario to America’s digital doorstep. With the Federal Communications Commission scheduled to vote on the issue today, the threatened rollback not only imperils fair play and free speech; it will also empower foreign entities with substantial market-making power, like China’s government, to meddle in American public discourse on a scale dwarfing Russia’s recent cyber-chicanery. Worse, abolishing net neutrality gives American corporations the means, motive and opportunity to become accomplices in selling out our freedom of speech."
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