China | 22 September 2022

China: Internal and external control

Two recently published reports show how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is putting a lot of effort into controlling both the country’s internal affairs and its image abroad.


Show: false / Country: China / China
Two recently published reports show how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is putting a lot of effort into controlling both the country’s internal affairs and its image abroad.

World Watch Research analyst Thomas Muller explains: “First, the report entitled ‘Home as prison’, published by NGO Safeguard Defenders on 6 September 2022, shows how much the number of house arrests in China has increased. This ‘Residential Surveillance’ (RS), as it is also termed, does not necessarily take place in one’s own home; the location can also be a rented room in a hotel or on government premises, for example. However, the most appealing feature for security forces and prosecutors is that this tool is not under judicial review. From 2019 to 2020, the most recent years for which full data was available, the number of RS cases increased by 13%. Compared with 2013, the first full year after Xi Jinping became Secretary-General, the number has increased by more than 700%. Those are only the cases which have been officially recorded. RS is a tool which has also been frequently used against Christians, especially prominent Christian leaders.”

Thomas Muller continues: “The other report has been published by Freedom House and shows the sheer effort being exerted by the CCP to influence international media reporting on China. The report is in the form of an index with individual country analysis and is entitled ‘Beijing’s Global Media Influence 2022 – Authoritarian expansion and the power of democratic resilience’. In 30 country chapters, the report investigates how and by what means the CCP is trying to influence and shape media narratives. The scale ranges from blunt threats and coercive action to more sophisticated measures such as paid training for journalists and the provision of digital television and mobile phone equipment in African and Latin American countries. Against such influence, the sheer diversity of the media landscape and the alert resilience of many individuals in the media industry, works as an antidote.”

Thomas Muller adds: “In an unrelated development, Secretary-General Xi Jinping made his first trip abroad since the beginning of the pandemic in January 2020 and his choice where to end this hiatus is particularly interesting. On 14 September, he visited Kazakhstan and on 15 September, he attended the Shanghai Cooperation meeting (SCO) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan (Associated Press, 15 September 2022). Choosing the SCO meeting does not simply signal that China is not prepared to be held in check by Western countries, it also already shows a change in China’s relationship with Russia. Previously, Russia has traditionally claimed that Central Asia belongs to Moscow’s sphere of influence or – more colloquially – is Russia’s backyard. Vladimir Putin met with Xi Jinping in Samarkand and expressed his understanding at the ‘questions and concerns worrying the Chinese leader about the situation in Ukraine (Reuters, 16 September 2022). This was particularly interesting since the Chinese side had so far never mentioned in public any such concerns, but had merely stated that ‘China is willing to work with Russia to play a leading role in demonstrating the responsibility of major powers, and to instill stability and positive energy into a world in turmoil’.”

Thomas Muller concludes: “As one commentator said, China is not particularly worried about what happens to Ukraine: ‘For China, if Russia wins, that’s great because China gains a stronger ally. If Russia loses, that is also great because China gains a vassal state, which is the second-largest nuclear power in the world. So I think people in the West, in Washington especially, want to see how China is going to lose in this. But in the Chinese framing, it’s about how China is winning in this’ (Grid News, 15 September 2022).”


Our site uses cookies


We use cookies and other technologies on our website. Some of them are essential, while others help us to improve this website and your experience. We use them, among other things, to offer you an option for secure donations and anonymously evaluate access to our website. It also allows us to share our own YouTube videos on the website. Depending on the function, the data is passed on to third parties and processed by them. More information on The use of your data can be found in our Privacy Policy. You can revoke or adjust your choice at any time under Cookie Settings.

Accept all
Accept Neccessary