Counsel to the American law firm Paul Weiss and author Gordon Chang warns that the Chinese communist regime is trying to expand its maligning activities through multilateral organizations, thus attacking “freedom and democracy” in the West. The American lawyer stresses that, since his arrival at the White House, President Donald Trump is preventing the advance of Beijing while seeking to establish a new global balance of power.
In a column written for the Gatestone Institute, the author of “The Coming Collapse of China” describes some notable and “brazen” cases where Beijing is trying to dominate international bodies such as the WTO and the U.N.
Intellectual Property Theft
In March 2020, the U.N.’s World Intellectual Property Organization will elect its new authorities and, paradoxically, the Chinese regime, “the world’s leading cyberattacker and master intellectual property thief,” has ambitions to put one of its trusted individuals at the helm of the agency.
In fact, in November, Beijing nominated Wang Binyang, who “will be able to bend international rules to favor her country’s assault on other’s technology,” said Chang.
“Her nomination reveals Beijing’s brazen ambition to dominate multilateral institutions,” added Chang.
Chang’s suspicions are not without precedent, as previously “Beijing’s placement of officials inside multilateral institutions has greatly facilitated its malign activities.”
Such is the case of Fang Liu, secretary general of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), who came to the United Nations agency after commanding China’s aviation regulatory body, the China Civil Aviation Administration.
In November 2016, ICAO suffered the “most serious” cyberattack in the history of the institution.
As described by Chang, a group of hackers linked to the Chinese regime is believed to have been behind the attacks.
In February 2019, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that Liu had obstructed the investigation of the cyberattack.
What’s more, Liu protected, among others, James Wan, ICAO deputy director and head of information and communications technology, who repeatedly undermined the investigation of the cyberattacks, Chang notes.
He added that Wan currently has links with two institutions “associated with a known hacker”: the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
Lack of freedom of expression
“From its perch on the U.N. Security Council (…) Beijing has placed itself in a position to attack freedom and democracy,” said Chang.
The Chang gives as an example that the Chinese regime was “the force” behind a recently passed General Assembly resolution to create a new convention that many fear will be used to restrict online free speech around the world.
Human Rights Violation
Beijing also blocked U.N. attempts to punish totalitarian regimes such as North Korea.
Furthermore, China currently controls the so-called UN Human Rights Council.
Since its growing influence in the UN, Chinese officials have tried to prevent activists, such as Uighur Dolkun Isa, from entering the body’s premises.
Even Chang describes how Chinese officials have gone so far as to photograph and film critics of the regime on U.N. grounds. They have also intimidated U.N. staff, experts and other officials in private settings.
A notable case that demonstrates Beijing’s progress in international institutions is that of the World Trade Organization, “where it has for two decades abused its rules and the body’s dispute resolution mechanism,” lamented Chang.
The excesses of the Chinese regime were also exposed at Interpol, where the head of the institution, Chinese citizen Meng Hongwei, suddenly “disappeared” in September 2018.
Funding to pursue
The “malign activities” of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) have reached the World Bank.
For example, the specialized agency for financial assistance had earmarked millions of dollars for “vocational education” for people in the Xinjiang region.
But, Chang describes, Beijing diverted this money and used it to buy barbed wire, bulletproof vests, and tear gas to suppress the Uighur minority there.
The hypocrisy of the CCP
Although it is now advancing on multilateral bodies, with obvious consequences, the Chinese regime did not always have the same strategy.
When it came to power in 1949, the CCP rejected multilateral institutions.
However, after the border conflicts with Russia in 1969, the dictator Mao Zedong began to establish contacts with foreigners.
In 1971, he joined the United Nations to take over from Taiwan.
With the arrival of Deng Xiaoping, the country established relations with other nations and joined multilateral institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
However, Chang said Deng’s approach to global organizations “was only tentative: he feared they would restrain his regime.”
Today, by advancing the institutions and “undermining” them from within, Beijing praises multilateralism.
“China’s malign activities at the multilateral agencies have meant that these organizations have ceased to function as they should,” says Chang.
Moreover, Beijing’s activities are so pervasive that a Human Rights Watch report states that they not only call into question the U.N.’s investigation of China’s record, but “pose a long-term challenge to the integrity of the system as a whole.”
The arrival of Trump: The beginning of the end of the CCP’s advances?
Chang argued that while Beijing’s progress led to complaints from the international community, these were not effective until Donald J. Trump arrived at the White House.
Indeed, President Trump quickly delegitimized the U.N. Human Rights Council, removing the United States in June 2018.
He also ended the functioning of the WTO Appellate Body, which was in the early stages of its creation.
And he withdrew his country from the Paris Agreement.
After criticizing the WTO’s preferential treatment of China, Trump made it clear at the last U.N. General Assembly that he would not allow other countries to take advantage of the United States and the international trading system.
With respect to socialist and communist regimes he was blunt: “Socialism and communism are not about justice. They are not about equality. They are not about lifting up the poor. And they are certainly not about the good of the nation. Socialism and communism are about one thing only: power for the ruling class.”