(Kiana) #1

Larry Diamond

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and that is certainly Putin. China’s
leadership is playing a longer game o”
penetrating democratic societies and
slowly undermining them from within.
It has at its disposal a broader range
o” methods and a far more lavish base o”
resources than Russia does—not least
o” which is a vast, interconnected
bureaucracy o” party, state, and formally
nonstate actors.
Countering these malign authoritarian
campaigns o” disinformation, societal
penetration, and ideological warfare will
be critical for the defense o” democracy.
Democratic governments must begin by
educating their own citizens, as well as
mass media, universities, think tanks,
corporations, local governments, and
diaspora communities, about the danger
posed by these authoritarian inÁuence
operations and the need for “construc-
tive vigilance,” according to “China’s
InÁuence and American Instruments,” a
2018 report by a group o” China experts
convened by the Hoover Institution and
the Asia Society, which I co-edited with
Orville Schell. The response must be
constructive in that it must avoid over-
reaction or ethnocentrism and seek to
put forward democratic values as much
as possible. But it must be vigilant in its
awareness and scrutiny o” China’s and
Russia’s far-Áung eorts to project their
inÁuence. Thus, democratic societies
must insist on rigorous transparency in
all institutional exchanges, grants,
contracts, and other interactions with
China and Russia. And democracies
must demand greater reciprocity in their
relations with these countries: for
example, they cannot allow supposedly
independent journalists and broadcast
media from these authoritarian jugger-
nauts unlimited access to their countries

integrity o” civic and political institutions
in democratic societies. In the words
o• Malcolm Turnbull, the former prime
minister o” Australia, it is “covert, coercive,
or corrupting.” In Australia and New
Zealand, the Western democracies that
have been most aected by these tactics,
there is almost no Chinese-language
media source that is independent o”
Beijing, and former o–ceholders earn
lucrative beneÃts by promoting Chinese
interests. Australia has had some success
pushing back with legislation. But
China’s eorts to penetrate media, civic
organizations, and politics meet less
resistance in more vulnerable emerging-
market democracies, such as Argentina,
Ghana, Peru, and South Africa. And
China’s inÁuence eorts are now extend-
ing to Canada and the United States,
threatening the independence and
pluralism o” Chinese-language media and
community associations there, as well as
freedom o” speech and inquiry within
Canadian and American think tanks and

There is no technical Ãx for what ails
democracy promotion. The problem is
big and deep and has been long in the
making. So must be the response. To
begin with, American leaders must
recognize that they are once again in a
global contest o” values and ideas.
Both the Chinese Communist Party and
the Kremlin are Ãghting cynically and
vigorously. The Kremlin’s central tactic
is to destroy the very premise that there
can be objective truth, not to mention
universal values. I” there is no objective
truth, and no deeper moral value than
power itself, then the biggest liar wins—

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