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The Silent Conquest

Gabor Steingart

While the West’s attention seem to have been absorbed by the fight against pandemics, the People’s Republic of China is continuing to expand its power: Quietly, efficiently and with an extra dose of audacity.

Case 1: The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs lent the pen to those ambassadors of the EU countries who had written an article for a Chinese daily newspaper. The ministry did not want the origin of the corona virus to be mentioned in the text. So the corresponding half sentence was deleted. The EU ambassadors nodded diligently. In the interest of friendship between peoples, Western values were betrayed: Freedom of expression was negotiable.

Case 2: The digital group Tencent from Shenzhen has stakes in more than 700 companies worldwide. In Europe for example, in the Swedish music streaming service Spotify. But above all, it runs the messenger app WeChat, which is used by a billion Chinese. According to a study published the other day (here) by the University of Toronto, Tencent has used the political content published by foreign accounts to refine its own censorship algorithms for domestic accounts. At least one man was detained for describing President Xi Jinping as a “steamed bun“. There is no fear of a protest from the Chancellery or the Élysée Palace.

Case 3: While Europe is withdrawing from coal in the course of climate policy, China is ready to help. According to Greenpeace, Chinese companies and banks are involved in the financing of at least 13 coal projects on the African continent, (here) and a further nine are in preparation. This is how Africa is made dependent.


It almost seems as if China wants to promote the book of the German publishing house, “The Silent Conquest: How China undermines Western democracies and rearranges the world“, which will be published in a few days. The Australian Clive Hamilton and the German China expert Mareike Ohlberg from the German Marshall Fund describe – so to speak as background music for the current events – the goals of the Communist Party with unprecedented precision:

“Drawing on its tremendous economic power, China is exerting diplomatic pressure, persuasion, friendship, and manipulating media, think tanks, and universities, overlapping and reinforcing each other.”

Bejing Impact

“The goal is the Sino-centric world that the hawks dream that Xi has brought into the party leadership. They see a world order dominated by China as an essential part of the “great resurrection of the Chinese people”.”


The party leadership – unlike Trump – does not rely on public attacks, but on silent infiltration:

“Influence is to be achieved through a subtle and multi-pronged program of global opinion management.”

The CCP is concerned, the authors quote Sha Qiguang (an official from the Office for International Propaganda), about a “Third World War without smoke”.


The authors also explain why the CCP is so easy to get through with its initiatives:

“Ignorance is an explanation of why western societies find it difficult to correctly assess the threat from the CP. ”

Conclusion: The eunuch-like nature of the EU ambassadors and the quietness of European politics are the two sides of the same coin. But with a strategy of deliberate naivety, Europe ultimately loses both – the goodwill of the Americans and the respect of the Chinese. The intellectual father of this opportunism offensive is likely Groucho Marx:

“I have iron principles. If you don’t like them, I have others too. “