August 4, 2021 | Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Beijing’s Long Arm: Threats to U.S. National Security

August 4, 2021 | Senate Select Committee on Intelligence

Beijing’s Long Arm: Threats to U.S. National Security


August 4, 2021


Of full written testimony

Chairman Warner, Vice Chairman Rubio, I’d like to thank you and your fellow committee members for hosting a public hearing on this important topic.

Many Americans were slow to realize it, but Beijing’s enmity for the United States began decades ago. Ever since taking power in 1949, the ruling Chinese Communist Party (or “CCP”) has cast the United States as an antagonist. Then, three decades ago, at the end of the Cold War, Beijing quietly revised its grand strategy to regard Washington as its primary external adversary and embarked on a quest for regional, followed by global, dominance.

The United States and other free societies have belatedly woken up to this contest, and a welcome spirit of bipartisanship has emerged on Capitol Hill. But even this new consensus has failed to adequately appreciate one of the most threatening elements of Chinese strategy: the way it seeks to influence and coerce Americans, including political, business, and scientific leaders, in the service of Beijing’s ambitions.

The CCP’s methods are manifestations of “political warfare,” the term that George Kennan, the chief architect of our Cold War strategy of containment, used in a 1948 memo to describe “the employment of all the means at a nation’s command, short of war, to achieve its national objectives.”

One of the most crucial elements of Beijing’s political warfare is so called “United Front” work. United Front work is an immense range of activities with no analogue in democracies. China’s leaders call it a “magic weapon.” And the CCP’s 95 million members are all required to participate in the system, which has many branches. The United Front Work Department alone has three times as many cadres as the U.S. State Department has Foreign Service officers. Instead of practicing diplomacy, however, the United Front gathers intelligence about and works to influence private citizens and government officials overseas, with a focus on foreign elites and the organizations they run.

Peter Mattis, who detailed how United Front work is organized during his 2019 testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said “Put simply, United Front work is conducted wherever the party is present.” And the Party is quite present here in the United States.



Full written testimony


China Military and Political Power U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy