US imposes sanctions on Chinese officials engaged in coercive influence activities

The United States has imposed sanctions on Chinese officials accused of being engaged in coercive influence activities.

The US State Department said that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has long sought to spread Marxist-Leninist ideology and exert its influence all over the world.

The State Department said that CCP’s United Front Work Department funds and supports overseas organizations to spread propaganda and coerces and bullies those who would oppose Beijing’s policies.

“The United Front frequently intimidates members of academia, businesses, civil society groups, and Chinese diaspora communities, including members of ethnic and religious minority communities who speak out against horrific human rights abuses taking place in Xinjiang, Tibet, and elsewhere in China. Its coercive tactics target individuals viewed as working against CCP interests. These tactics include the release of personal details (“doxing”) of their targets and even their family members online as a means of political intimidation,” the State Department said.

The US State Department said that visa restrictions are being imposed under Section 212(a)(3)(C) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, on PRC and CCP officials, or individuals active in United Front Work Department activities, who have engaged in the use or threat of physical violence, theft and release of private information, espionage, sabotage, or malicious interference in domestic political affairs, academic freedom, personal privacy, or business activity.

“These malign activities are intended to co-opt and coerce sub-national leaders, overseas Chinese communities, academia, and other civil society groups both in the United States and other countries in furtherance of the CCP’s authoritarian narratives and policy preferences. I will continue to implement such visa restrictions to make clear that those responsible for actions that contravene the rules-based international order are not welcome in the United States,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

The United States called on the PRC to end its use of coercion and intimidation tactics to suppress freedom of expression. The United States said it will continue to review its authorities to respond to these concerns. (Colombo Gazette)