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Parliamentary questions
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10 September 2021
Question for written answer  E-004176/2021
to the Commission
Rule 138
Charlie Weimers (ECR)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Chinese Communist Party efforts to hide ongoing influence operations in Europe

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is engaged in a global campaign to stifle freedom of speech. Swedish researchers have identified a recent change in the tactics that the CCP employs. While it previously made statements publicly available, the Chinese embassy in Sweden’s new preferred method is to attack critics directly with the intent to spur self-censorship in the West(1). This has made it harder for researchers to map the CCP’s interventions and influence campaigns.

In Swedish public discourse, the term Kinabrev (‘China letters’) has become the established term for these privately distributed communications from the CCP regime to commentators and politicians.

Considering the findings of these researchers and the fact that the combination of economic dependence and the risk of being constantly attacked makes self-censorship and conformity increasingly likely:

1. Is the Commission aware of this change in tactics by some Chinese embassies in Europe and does the Commission agree it is better to act now, rather than trying to deal with the impact of these influence operations at a later stage?

2. Can the Commission commit to making available annual reports that provide a full and thorough account of CCP threats and intimidation efforts against Member State governments, private entities or persons residing in the EU or actively participating in public debate in the EU?

(1)Only three statements about Swedish commentators have been posted on the embassy website, compared to 67 during the period from June 2018 to August 2020. However, at least 20 other cases of lecturing and intimidation have been identified by researchers searching the public domain for statements from the Chinese Embassy in Sweden: https://frivarld.se/rapporter/draken-som-bytte-taktik/
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