United Front Work Department

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
中共中央统一战线工作部
Danghui.svg
Formation1942
TypeDepartment directly reporting to the Central Committee
Headquarters135 Fuyou Street, Xicheng District, Beijing
Location
  • Beijing
Head
You Quan
Executive deputy head
Zhang Yijiong*
Deputy heads
Bagatur*, Xu Lejiang*, Shi Dagang, Ran Wanxiang, Dai Junliang
Discipline Secretary
Su Bo
Parent organization
Central Committee of the Communist Party of China
Websitewww.zytzb.cn
*Minister-level rank
National Emblem of the People's Republic of China (2).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
China
Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China portal

The United Front Work Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (UFWD; Chinese: 中共中央统一战线工作部) is a department that reports directly to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, which gathers intelligence on, manages relations with, and attempts to influence elite individuals and organizations inside and outside China.[1][2] The UFWD focuses its work on people or entities that are outside the Party proper, especially in the overseas Chinese community, who hold social, commercial, or academic influence, or who represent interest groups.[3][4] Through its efforts, the UFWD seeks to ensure that these individuals and groups are supportive of or useful to Chinese Communist Party interests and potential critics remain divided.[5][6][7]

History[edit]

The United Front Work Department was created during the Chinese Civil War, and was reestablished in 1979 under paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. Since 2012, the role and scope of the UFWD has expanded and intensified under Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China.[8][9][10][11]

Civil war and gaining power[edit]

United front policies were most used in two periods before the Chinese Communist Revolution, namely from 1924 to 1927, and from 1936 to 1945, when the CCP cooperated with the Nationalist Party ostensibly to defeat the Japanese.[12] The simplest formulation of UF work in the period was to "rally as many allies as possible in order to... defeat a common enemy."[12]

In the early years the CCP also used United Front policies to cooperate with "disaffected warlords, religious believers, ethnic minorities, Overseas Chinese, and "minor parties and groups," that is front groups for the Communist Party to appear democratic.[12] The Party's united front strategies were effective against the Nationalists, when combined with military force, "ideological work," and alliance building, which eventually isolated the enemy.

The Party communist agitators were able to persuade "minor parties and groups" in China that the Nationalists were "illegitimate and repressive while the CCP embodied progress, unity, and democracy."[12]

After seizing power the communists continued to deploy united front strategies to train new communist intellectuals, "and, using thought reform based on criticism, began the transformation of the old society intellectuals." This involved violent elimination of what were termed "bourgeois and idealistic political beliefs," to instil faith in "class struggle and revolutionary change."[12] The CCP required the intellectuals to have "faith in class struggle and revolutionary change."[12]

Reform-era[edit]

In the late 1970s the policy was used for the common cause of economic reform. From there the Party expanded the scope of its work internationally during the reform era, and again following the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. The department includes a bureau tasked with handling Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and overseas affairs, and articulates the importance of using overseas Chinese populations to promote unification.[13] It played an important role in building support for "One country, two systems" in Hong Kong during the 1980s and 1990s, operating under the name of the "Coordination Department."[14] The UFWD has been critically described as serving to co-opt non-Communist community leaders outside China, and "using them to neutralize Party critics," sometimes coercively.[15]

Scholar of Chinese political history John P. Burns presents in his book The Chinese Communist Party's Nomenklatura System excerpts from internal party documents demonstrating the role of the UFWD. The UFWD is to "implement better the party's united front policy and to assess and understand patriotic personages in different fields... so that we can arrange for correct placements for them and fully mobilize and bring into play their positive role in the Four Modernizations and to accomplish the return of Taiwan to the motherland so as to fulfill the cause of uniting the whole country, and to carry forward and solidify the revolutionary, patriotic united front."[16]

The UFWD was used in the early years of communist rule "to guarantee CCP oversight" over groups that were not directly associated with the Party and government. Those groups, including NGOs, were brought under the authority of the UFWD, whose job it was to “continuing to play its part in mobilizing and rallying the whole people in common struggle” after the Liberation in 1949. When the CCP "shifted its focus from the 'mass line' to 'class struggle', the real united front disappeared. While the United Front Department still existed, its duties of uniting with all forces for the 'common struggle' shifted mainly to serving the Party's leadership and 'consolidating the proletarian dictatorship'," according to Brookings Institution visiting fellow Zhang Ye.[17] Based on their actions in Taiwan and elsewhere the United Front Work Department appears to be used as a cover to conduct intelligence operations against targets of interest to the CCP.[18]

Structure[edit]

The UFWD is reported to have over 40,000 personnel.[19] It oversees and directs eight minor and subordinate political parties and the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce.[20] It historically maintained a close relationship with the now-absorbed State Administration for Religious Affairs, which has overseen the country's five officially sanctioned religious organizations. In 2018, the United Front Work Department went through a reorganization in which it absorbed the State Administration for Religious Affairs and the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office to become two internal bureaus.[11][21][22] The UFWD has also taken a leading role in antireligious campaigns in China under the official pretense of "sinicizing religions."[23]

The UFWD also directs the State Ethnic Affairs Commission.[24][25] As such, the UFWD is China's main agency overseeing and managing ethnic, religious and overseas Chinese affairs.[26][24] The UFWD plays an active role in the sinicization of ethnic and religious minorities, particularly in Tibet and of the Uyghurs through the Xinjiang re-education camps.[27][28][25]

The Department has thirteen subdivisions, including nine bureaux (局 jú) and four other units:[29]

  • General Office (办公厅): Oversees the functioning of the Department, including its finances, security, assets, and work with other government and Party bodies.
  • Policy and Theory Research Office (政策理论研究室): Handles ideological and policy research, internal propaganda, and the drafting of important documents. Works with other government agencies to develop propaganda efforts abroad.
  • First Bureau—Party Work Bureau (一局,党派工作局): Governs affairs related to the eight minor, non-Communist parties legally allowed to operate in China.
  • Second Bureau—Minority and Religious Work Bureau (二局,民族、宗教工作局): Researches and recommends policy on minorities and religious affairs in the country, and liaises with other government agencies in their related work.
  • Third Bureau—Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Overseas Liaison Bureau (三局,港澳台、海外联络局): Coordinates and communicates with friendly figures in Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan.
  • Fourth Bureau—Cadre Bureau (四局,干部局): Handles personnel matters, including the political training, selection, and examination of non-Party members in leadership positions in the government.
  • Fifth Bureau—Economic Bureau (五,经济局): Coordinates with figures from the private sector.
  • Sixth Bureau—Independent and Non-Party Intellectuals Work Bureau (六局,无党派、党外知识分子工作局): Liaises with intellectuals not formally affiliated with the Communist Party.
  • Seventh Bureau (七局): Responsible for ethnic minority and religious work, particularly as it relates to Tibet.
  • Eighth Bureau—New Social Class Representatives Work Bureau (八局,新的社会阶层人士工作局): Focuses on the "new social class", i.e., the rising Chinese middle class.
  • Ninth Bureau (九局): Responsible for research, analysis, and policy recommendations for issues in Xinjiang.
  • Department Party Committee (机关党委)
  • Retired Cadre Office (离退休干部办公室)

Internal and overseas operations[edit]

Scholar Alex Joske has noted that there is no clear distinction between domestic and overseas UFWD activity and often overlap between the two.[4] Scholar Martin Thorley has described the UFWD as being able to call upon a "latent network" of civic, educational, and non-governmental groups and affiliated individuals internally and abroad for its political purposes, especially in times of crisis.[30] For instance, the UFWD uses members of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and other organizations to carry out influence-building activities, often covertly.[1][31] Researchers from Stanford University's Internet Observatory and the Hoover Institution describe the United Front as "cultivat[ing] pro-Beijing perspectives in the Chinese diaspora and the wider world by rewarding those it deems friendly with accolades and lucrative opportunities, while orchestrating social and economic pressure against critics. This pressure is often intense but indirect, and clear attribution is therefore difficult."[32]

The UFWD and its affiliated groups have also served as cover for intelligence agents of the Ministry of State Security.[4] Multiple national intelligence agencies have expressed concern that the mandate and operations of the UFWD can constitute undue interference in other nations' internal affairs.[33][15] In their book Nest of Spies, de Pierrebourg and Juneau-Katsuya allege that the United Front Work Department “manages important dossiers concerning foreign countries. These include propaganda, the control of Chinese students abroad, the recruiting of agents among the Chinese diaspora (and among sympathetic foreigners), and long-term clandestine operations.”[34]

The Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries has been described as the "public face" of the UFWD.[35] Scholar Jichang Lulu noted that the UFWD and its proxy organizations "re-purpose democratic governance structures to serve as tools of extraterritorial influence."[36] An Atlantic writer stated China runs thousands of linked and subsidized pro-government groups across Europe, to "ensure that its overseas citizens, and others of ethnic Chinese descent, are loyal", to "shape the conversation about China in Europe", and to "bring back technology and expertise", and that the UFWD plays a "crucial" role in this project.[37]

In March 2018, it was announced that the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office would be absorbed into the United Front Work Department.[22][38] With the absorption of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, the UFWD gained full control of the country's second largest state-run media apparatus, the China News Service.[22] In 2019, the UFWD partnered with the Cyberspace Administration of China to promote united front work with social media influencers.[4]

In April 2020, Global News reported that UFWD-linked organizations in Canada were activated in January 2020 to purchase, stockpile, and export personal protective equipment in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in mainland China.[39]

Reaction[edit]

A 2018 report by the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission noted that the UFWD regularly attempts to suppress overseas protests and acts of expression critical of the Communist Party of China are a conspiracy against rights.[1] In May 2020, the White House released a report titled "U.S. Strategic Approach to the People's Republic of China", which stated that "CCP United Front organizations and agents target businesses, universities, think tanks, scholars, journalists, and local, state, and Federal officials in the United States and around the world, attempting to influence discourse and restrict external influence inside the PRC."[40][41] In June 2020, the Australian Strategic Policy Institute issued a report advocating a multi-dimensional response involving law enforcement as well as legislative reform for greater transparency of foreign influence operations.[4] The same month the Republican Study Committee in the United States called for sanctions on the UFWD and its top leadership.[42]

List of heads of the department[edit]

  1. Wang Ming (1942 - 1947)
  2. Zhou Enlai (1947 - 1948)
  3. Li Weihan (October 1948 - December 1964)
  4. Xu Bing (徐冰) (December 1964 - 1966)
  5. Interregnum (1966 - 1975)
  6. Li Dazhang (November 1975 - May 1976)
  7. Ulanhu (May 1976 - April 1982)
  8. Yang Jingren (April 1982 - November 1985)
  9. Yan Mingfu (November 1985 - November 1990)
  10. Ding Guangen (November 1990 - December 1992)
  11. Wang Zhaoguo (December 1992 - December 2002)
  12. Liu Yandong (December 2002 - December 2007)
  13. Du Qinglin (December 2007 - September 2012)
  14. Ling Jihua (September 2012 - December 2014)
  15. Sun Chunlan (December 2014 - November 2017)
  16. You Quan (November 2017 - incumbent)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Bowe, Alexander (August 24, 2018). "China's Overseas United Front Work: Background and Implications for the United States" (PDF). United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 9, 2018. Retrieved May 12, 2019.
  2. ^ "The United Front in Communist China" (PDF). Central Intelligence Agency. May 1957. pp. 1–5. Archived (PDF) from the original on January 23, 2017. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  3. ^ Brady, Annie-Marie (2017-09-18). "Magic Weapons: China's political influence activities under Xi Jinping". Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Archived from the original on 2019-08-25. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
  4. ^ a b c d e Joske, Alex (June 9, 2020). "The party speaks for you: Foreign interference and the Chinese Communist Party's united front system". Australian Strategic Policy Institute. Archived from the original on June 9, 2020. Retrieved June 9, 2020.
  5. ^ Hamilton, Clive; Joske, Alex (2018). Silent invasion : China's influence in Australia. Richmond, Victoria. ISBN 9781743794807. OCLC 1030256783.
  6. ^ Miller, William J (1988). The People's Republic of China's united front tactics in the United States, 1972-1988. Bakersfield, Calif. (9001 Stockdale Hgwy., Bakersfield 93311-1099): C. Schlacks, Jr. OCLC 644142873.CS1 maint: location (link)
  7. ^ Fitzgerald, John (October 1, 2019). "Mind your tongue: Language, public diplomacy and community cohesion in contemporary Australia—China relations". Australian Strategic Policy Institute: 5. JSTOR resrep23070. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  8. ^ Groot, Gerry (September 24, 2019). "The CCP's Grand United Front abroad". Sinopsis. Archived from the original on November 3, 2019. Retrieved November 3, 2019.
  9. ^ Groot, Gerry (2016-09-19), "The Expansion of the United Front Under Xi Jinping", The China Story Yearbook 2015: Pollution, ANU Press, doi:10.22459/csy.09.2016.04a, ISBN 978-1-76046-068-6
  10. ^ Kynge, James; Anderlini, Jamil; Hornby, Lucy (2017-10-26). "Inside China's secret 'magic weapon' for worldwide influence". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 2019-11-02. Retrieved 2020-01-22.
  11. ^ a b Joske, Alex (2019-07-22). "The Central United Front Work Leading Small Group: Institutionalising united front work". Sinopsis. Archived from the original on 2020-05-03. Retrieved 2020-05-09.
  12. ^ a b c d e f Groot, Gerry (2004). Managing Transitions: The Chinese Communist Party, United Front Work, Corporatism and Hegemony. New York: Routledge. pp. 2–8. ISBN 0203502949. OCLC 54494511.
  13. ^ United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, '华侨、华人工作的基本任务 Archived 2012-04-02 at the Wayback Machine, March 23, 2009.
  14. ^ Loh, Christine (2010). Underground Front: The Chinese Communist Party in Hong Kong. Aberdeen, Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press. p. 148. ISBN 9789882205697. OCLC 743276061.
  15. ^ a b Holly Porteous, “Beijing’s United Front Strategy in Hong Kong” Archived 2020-07-07 at the Wayback Machine, Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Commentary 72 (1998).
  16. ^ Burns, John P (1989). The Chinese Communist Party's Nomenklatura System: A Documentary Study of Party Control of Leadership Selection, 1979-1984. Armonk, N.Y.: M.E. Sharpe. pp. 36–37. ISBN 978-0-87332-566-0. OCLC 18960017.
  17. ^ Zhang Ye, China's Emerging Civil Society Archived 2004-12-24 at the Wayback Machine, Brookings Institution, June 2003.
  18. ^ Hsiao, Russell (2019-12-18). "Political Warfare Alert: China Using United Front Work Department to Conduct Espionage in Taiwan". globaltaiwan.org. Global Taiwan Institute. Archived from the original on 18 December 2019. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
  19. ^ John Manthorpe (5 January 2019). Claws of the Panda. Cormorant Books. p. 45. ISBN 978-1-77086-539-6.
  20. ^ Groot, Gerry (June 19, 2018). "Understanding the Role of Chambers of Commerce and Industry Associations in United Front Work". Jamestown Foundation. Archived from the original on September 11, 2019. Retrieved 2019-09-14.
  21. ^ Feng, Emily (September 26, 2019). "'Afraid We Will Become The Next Xinjiang': China's Hui Muslims Face Crackdown". NPR. Archived from the original on October 8, 2019. Retrieved October 8, 2019.
  22. ^ a b c Joske, Alex (May 9, 2019). "Reorganizing the United Front Work Department: New Structures for a New Era of Diaspora and Religious Affairs Work". Jamestown Foundation. Archived from the original on July 21, 2019. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  23. ^ Gao, Charlotte (October 24, 2017). "Chinese Communist Party Vows to 'Sinicize Religions' in China". The Diplomat. Archived from the original on February 19, 2020. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  24. ^ a b Zhao, Taotao; Leibold, James (2019-10-13). "Ethnic Governance under Xi Jinping: The Centrality of the United Front Work Department & Its Implications". Journal of Contemporary China: 1–16. doi:10.1080/10670564.2019.1677359. ISSN 1067-0564.
  25. ^ a b Leibold, James (October 10, 2018). "Hu the Uniter: Hu Lianhe and the Radical Turn in China's Xinjiang Policy". Jamestown Foundation. Archived from the original on February 18, 2020. Retrieved 2019-11-25.
  26. ^ Xin, Zhou (March 21, 2018). "It's the covert unit behind China's growing global influence. And it's getting bigger". South China Morning Post. Archived from the original on March 22, 2018. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  27. ^ Ruwitch, John (2018-10-13). Stamp, David (ed.). "Chinese official says 'sinicization' of religion in Xinjiang must go on". Reuters. Archived from the original on 2019-10-31. Retrieved 2019-11-24.
  28. ^ Stroup, David R. (November 19, 2019). "Why Xi Jinping's Xinjiang policy is a major change in China's ethnic politics". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 20, 2019. Retrieved November 24, 2019.
  29. ^ "机构设置 [Organizational Structure]" (in Chinese). United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China. 3 May 2017. Archived from the original on 30 April 2020. Retrieved 16 March 2020.
  30. ^ Thorley, Martin (2019-07-05). "Huawei, the CSSA and beyond: "Latent networks" and Party influence within Chinese institutions". The Asia Dialogue. University of Nottingham. Archived from the original on 2019-08-18. Retrieved 2019-08-18.
  31. ^ Groot, Gerry (November 6, 2017). "The long reach of China's United Front Work". Lowy Institute. Archived from the original on October 11, 2019. Retrieved 2019-10-11.
  32. ^ DiResta, Renée; Miller, Carly; Molter, Vanessa; Pomfret, John; Tiffert, Glenn (July 28, 2020). "Telling China's Story: The Chinese Communist Party's Campaign to Shape Global Narratives" (PDF). Hoover Institution. p. 10. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 20, 2020. Retrieved 2020-07-24.
  33. ^ Allen-Ebrahimian, Bethany (2018-07-18). "China Built an Army of Influence Agents in the U.S." Daily Beast. Archived from the original on 2019-08-02. Retrieved 2019-07-27.
  34. ^ Pierrebourg, Fabrice de; Juneau-Katsuya, Michel (2009). Nest of Spies: The Startling Truth about Foreign Agents at Work Within Canada's Borders. HarperCollins Canada. pp. 160–162. ISBN 978-1-55468-449-6. OCLC 961657163.
  35. ^ Diamond, Larry; Schell, Orville (2019-08-01). China's Influence and American Interests: Promoting Constructive Vigilance (PDF). Hoover Press. p. 187. ISBN 978-0-8179-2286-3. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2019-06-16. Retrieved 2019-12-20.
  36. ^ Lulu, Jichang (2019-11-26). "Repurposing democracy: The European Parliament China Friendship Cluster". Sinopsis. Archived from the original on 2019-12-10. Retrieved 2019-11-26.
  37. ^ Tatlow, Didi Kirsten (12 July 2019). "The Chinese Influence Effort Hiding in Plain Sight". The Atlantic. Archived from the original on 17 July 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  38. ^ Mattis, Peter; Joske, Alex (2019-06-24). "The Third Magic Weapon: Reforming China's United Front". War on the Rocks. Archived from the original on 2019-06-24. Retrieved 2019-07-27.
  39. ^ Cooper, Sam (April 30, 2020). "United Front groups in Canada helped Beijing stockpile coronavirus safety supplies". Global News. Archived from the original on April 30, 2020. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  40. ^ Long, Qiao (May 21, 2020). "U.S. Signals Change in China Strategy to 'Defensive' And 'Competitive' Approach". Radio Free Asia. Archived from the original on May 21, 2020. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  41. ^ "United States Strategic Approach to The People's Republic of China" (PDF). White House. May 20, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on May 22, 2020. Retrieved 2020-05-22.
  42. ^ "The Republican Study Committee National Security Strategy: Strengthening America & Countering Global Threats" (PDF). Republican Study Committee. June 10, 2020. Archived (PDF) from the original on June 11, 2020. Retrieved June 12, 2020.

External links[edit]