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Influence Ops

Lhasa, Haus mit Glückszeichen (Sonne)
Bundesarchiv, Bild 135-S-13-14-22 / Schäfer, Ernst / CC-BY-SA 3.0

My latest at the Diplomat takes a look at some recent scholarship on Chinese influence operations in the United States in the late 1930s…

While previous work had demonstrated the existence, and to some extent the effectiveness, of these networks within the United States, Kristopher Erskine makes clear that they were established as part of KMT policy. Erskine discusses detailed policy guidance from Chiang Kai-shek in 1938 to the American Committee for Non-Participation in Japanese Aggression (ACNPJA), a lobbying group in the United States.

This propaganda operation worked through pre-existing networks of American missionary groups, who remained fixated on the promise of Chiang Kai-shek as a Christian leader, and deeply concerned about both Communist and Japanese expansion. American commercial groups also took part. The ACNPJA took steps to obscure the role of the Chinese government, operating with an all-American board of directors and failing to register as a foreign lobbying organization.

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