The following report was originally published by the Hoover Institution.
Scholars from the Hoover Institution, the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and other organizations today issued a report that examines China’s efforts to influence US institutions and calls for protecting American values, norms, and laws from such interference, while also warning against “demonizing” any group of people.
According to the 192-page document, which was unveiled today (Nov. 29) at a Hoover DC press event, China is attempting on a wide scale to manipulate state and local governments, universities, think tanks, media, corporations, and the Chinese American community. (Click here to read the report, titled “Chinese Influence & American Interests: Promoting Constructive Vigilance.”)
The document was produced by researchers convened by the Hoover Institution and the Asia Society’s Center on US-China Relations, along with support from The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands. The working group included leading China scholars who researched the issue for more than a year and a half. Project cochairs are Larry Diamond, senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and the Hoover Institution, and Orville Schell, the Arthur Ross Director at Asia Society Center on US-China Relations.
The objective of the Chinese entities is to promote sympathetic views of China, especially its government, policies, society and culture, the report concludes. The work is described as a “summons to greater awareness of the challenges our country faces and greater vigilance in defending our institutions,” and explicitly not intended to cause unfairness or recklessness towards any group of Americans.
On this point, Diamond and Schell wrote in the afterword, “At the same time that we fortify ourselves against harmful outside interference, we must also be mindful to do no harm. In particular, we must guard against having this report used unfairly to cast aspersions on Chinese, whether Chinese American immigrants who have become (or are becoming) United States citizens, Chinese students, Chinese businesspeople, or other kinds of Chinese visitors, whose contributions to America’s progress over the past century have been enormous.”
The report’s findings include the following:
Looking to the future, the scholars offer a set of policy principles for guiding American relationships with Chinese entities. These include:
For example, the report urges that the US media should undertake careful, fact-based investigative reporting of Chinese influence activities, and it should enhance its knowledge base for undertaking responsible reporting. Also, Congress should perform its constitutional role by continuing to investigate, report on, and recommend appropriate action concerning Chinese influence activities in the United States.
However, the report should not be viewed as an invitation to a McCarthy era-like reaction against Chinese in America, the researchers noted.
“We reiterate: it is absolutely crucial that whatever measures are taken to counteract harmful forms of Chinese influence seeking not end up demonizing any group of Americans, or even visitors to America, in ways that are unfair or reckless,” wrote Diamond and Schell.
Clifton B. Parker, Hoover Institution: 650-498-5204, firstname.lastname@example.org