President Donald Trump’s administration issued new rules Wednesday to restrict visas to Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials and members involved in coercive activities abroad.
The measure, announced Dec. 4, affects Chinese and CCP officials, or persons active in United Front Labor Department activities which have engaged in “the use or threat of physical violence, theft and release of private information, espionage, sabotage, or malicious interference in domestic political affairs, academic freedom, personal privacy, or business activity.”
The United Front is the CCP’s body charged with “co-opting and neutralizing threats to the Party’s rule and spreading its influence and propaganda overseas,” as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described in late October.
Pompeo added that the restrictions apply where “these malign activities are intended to co-opt and coerce sub-national leaders, overseas Chinese communities, academia, and other civil society groups both in the United States and other countries in furtherance of the CCP’s authoritarian narratives and policy preferences.”
The CCP “has long sought to spread Marxist-Leninist ideology and exert its influence all over the world. The CCP’s United Front Work Department funds and supports overseas organizations to spread propaganda and coerces and bullies those who would oppose Beijing’s policies,” the Secretary of State explained in a statement.
He described how the United Front frequently intimidates members of the academic, business, civil society groups, and Chinese diaspora communities, including ethnic and religious minorities who denounce the “horrific human rights abuses,” in Xinjiang, Tibet, and elsewhere in China.”
He noted that the United Front’s coercive tactics target individuals who are perceived to be working against the interests of the CCP. These include disclosing personal details (“doxing”) of their targets and even their family members online as a means of political intimidation.
“The United States calls on the PRC [People’s Republic of China] to end its use of coercion and intimidation tactics to suppress freedom of expression,” Pompeo said.
Against the “malign” influence of the CCP
The new measure is in addition to others that restrict the entry of CCP members or related persons to the United States.
On Oct. 28 this year, the Trump Administration classified as a foreign mission the National Association for the Peaceful Unification of China (NACPU), a propaganda organization linked to the Chinese communist regime in the United States. Under this new label, it must register its list of personnel, property, and other requirements as if it were a diplomatic entity on American soil.
The NACPU is an organization controlled by the United Front and used by United Front to “advance the PRC’s propaganda and malign influence.”
Also, Pompeo announced that the Trump Administration rescinded a 2011 agreement with Beijing to establish a forum for collaboration between both nations’ governors.
During its almost four years in office, the Trump Administration has on several occasions exposed agents and propaganda organizations of the Chinese communist regime that operate in a disguised manner on U.S. territory.
Among other actions, the Trump administration closed the Chinese consulate in Houston for involvement in an operation to steal intellectual property from American energy companies. The U.S. judiciary prosecuted two Chinese citizens working for the Guangdong Department of Homeland Security for conspiracy to steal trade secrets, among other federal crimes.
Closure of the Confucius Institutes
Also, the U.S. Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act in 2019, which prohibits academic institutions from receiving Defense Department funds for language programs if they maintain their ties to the controversial Confucian Institutes (CIs).
The CIs are study centers that partner with universities worldwide under the guise of promoting the Chinese language and Chinese culture, yet they have been labeled as a “soft power” tool to improve the image of the CCP abroad.
The U.S. government describes the CI as: “an entity advancing Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign on U.S. campuses and K-12 classrooms.”
Pompeo has expressed the United States’ desires that the 75 CIs operating in the U.S. be shut down before the end of the year.