Hidden Hand | Clive Hamilton

Summary of: Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party is Reshaping the World
By: Clive Hamilton


Discover how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) orchestrates significant disruptions to global politics in ‘Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party is Reshaping the World’ by Clive Hamilton. Retaining its Leninist origins, the CCP employs manipulation, coercion, and intimidation tactics to undermine democracies around the world, all the while pushing its agenda. Delve into the depths of the party’s extensive reach, spanning spying, industrial espionage, and influence across the globe in a range of sectors such as media, academia, and diplomacy.

China’s Threat to Democracy

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) poses a significant threat to democracies globally. Despite China’s rise to prosperity, its authoritarian regime has not shifted towards democracy and remains hostile to human rights, free speech, and religious diversity. The CCP aggressively attacks Western democracies and pursues Soviet-style tactics to control the narrative. Despite considerable dissent within China and among the Chinese diaspora, China claims to speak for all Chinese people. The CCP undermines universal human rights, democratic practice, and the rule of law, making it arguably the most formidable enemy of these values. Despite this, many in the West downplay China’s dark ambitions and claim criticism of the CCP is racist or unfair. China’s prosperity is attributed to extending fundamental freedoms such as property ownership, not the Party’s policies.

China’s Soft Power Tactics

China’s increasing influence through economic power is causing it to implement petty measures to silence opposition and curry favor with allies. From blocking imports of goods to restricting visas, China has been flexing its soft power tactics. The Chinese Communist Party seeks to reshape the international order to its liking without taking military action. Dissent is stifled using economic threats, best exemplified by the example of NBA stirring a controversy on Hong Kong. The threat of financial reprisals looms large, and China is determined to transform the world in its own image.

China’s Control on the Rise

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has gradually reclaimed control of government functions and limits freedom of speech and travel. Western politicians, including Joe Biden, downplay the threat China poses and advocate a dovish policy towards China, while having business relations with the country. This approach isn’t unique to Biden, as other US politicians also have ties with China. Western officials are inclined to panic and advise their governments to relent when Beijing cancels meetings and puts diplomats in the freezer.

Co-opting Foreign Officials

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a history of manipulating foreign officials to serve as their mouthpiece when targeting specific countries. These officials are approached with flattery and appeals to diplomacy, eventually coming to believe that Beijing’s arguments are reasonable and mutually beneficial. Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum, provided advice to Huawei’s CFO on avoiding extradition to the United States. Other officials co-opted by the CCP include ambassadors from Germany and Sweden, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröeder, former Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping, Neil Bush, and Stephen Schwarzman. The CCP has enticed these officials with “lucrative” opportunities and investments, as well as by creating educational institutions such as colleges, to maintain their power and manipulate them.

Chinese Elite’s Entanglement

A Chinese student’s commencement speech at a US university resulted in CCP accusing her of “bolstering negative Chinese stereotypes” and threatening her family in China. This incident exemplifies how the CCP forbids Chinese people from speaking freely even when they are outside China. Furthermore, Chinese expats related to CCP officials who perpetrate questionable behavior receive favorable treatment due to their connections. An instance is Gao Jue, son of Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng, who secured a job at JPMorgan in New York upon graduating from Purdue University. Despite underperforming and napping on the job, Gao Hucheng intervened on his behalf, and JPMorgan decided to keep him on the payroll with the promise of favorable treatment from the Chinese regime. This entanglement with the CCP elite through princelings serves a more important purpose than employment opportunities for their children in the West.

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