China’s Malign Influence Corrodes Democracy: Major US Think Tank

The International Republican Institute published a new report that blames the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for a campaign of malign influences that corrode democracy.

The International Republican Institute (IRI) is the Washington D.C. think tank whose board, staff and consultants are drawn from the Republican Party establishment. IRI has tended to set the party’s foreign policy agenda for three decades. Although it has backed expanded China trade and ratifying Trans-Pacific Partnership before President Trump’s election, IRI’s newest report is titled: “Chinese Malign Influence and the Corrosion Of Democracy: An Assessment of Chinese Interference in Thirteen Key Countries.”

The new white paper represents a hard-turn for a Republican Party establishment that after President Nixon went to China in 1972, supported a series of international trade deals with communist nations. House Speaker Paul Ryan and former presidential candidate Sen. John McCain worked with IRI in 2015 to advocate for passing the Tran-Pacific Partnership (TPP) based on Peterson Institute projections of adding “$147 billion” of  annual global growth, and “quadruple to $632 billion” if China joined.

Despite most IRI funding coming from the U.S. Agency for International Development, National Endowment for Democracy and State Department, plus its Board dominated by so-called “Never Trump” Senators including Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham, Joni Ernst, Kelly Ayotte and Mitt Romney, the Republican establishment now perceives China’s autocratic rule as a global democracy threat that must be contained.

According to IRI, China’s primary goal for developing world engagement is securing critical resources necessary to commercially sustain “its rapidly growing economy.” But the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has begun “employing a unique set of tactics in the economic and information domains that undermines many developing countries’ democratic institutions and future prosperity as their dependence on China grows.”

The CCP has long used sophisticated influence tactics in…

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