How China’s Political Warfare Traps Us within the Purple Matrix

published on July 3, 2020

China launched a war against the free

world while America turned a blind eye

now China's political warfare is

everywhere is the battle lost or can we

still fight back


this is genin censored I'm Chris


here in Taipei Taiwan when the Cold War

ended the world breathed the collective

sigh of relief completely forgetting

about the other massive communist power

threatening the world the Chinese

Communist Party through a sophisticated

use of what they call political warfare

the Chinese regime was able to slowly

subvert democracies around the world

including the United States and Taiwan i

sat down with Chinese political warfare

expert professor Carrie gur Shannon to

talk about how we all got trapped in

China's red matrix thanks for joining me

today thanks Chris appreciate you having

me here today

absolutely so you're an expert on

Chinese commies party political warfare

first what is political warfare

political warfare from the People's

Republic of China perspective is the

number one way it is going to destroy

the democracy on Taiwan it is the number

one way it will usurp the United States

as the leading global superpower though

the way it will bring down the hegemon

and so it can become the hegemon it's

the goal of political warfare is to do

all that without fighting that is

without going kinetic and the mid

intensity or high intensity conflict you

use political means you use influence

malign influence as a term that you'll

hear often but it's much more than

simple malign influence it's all the

means that the that a communist fascist

totalitarian regime based on Leninist

terror as a means of executing your

policies state can use so I know a lot

of terminology around political warfare

like gray zone operations or

comprehensive coercion I think that's

pretty confusing to a lot of

your average audience how would you

explain it to like my mom you're

absolutely right the lexicon the

terminology that surrounds what is in

reality this war that we are in China is

at war with us and we we don't

understand it because we don't

understand the terminology we America

and the men China the Taiwan the

Republic of China all too often we think

in terms of discrete functions such as

diplomacy we think in terms of

information operations we think in terms

of psychological operations there's a

whole array of terminology you've you've

just gray zone operations but there's

proxy armies there's a there's a whole

array of terms that get stove-piped

in our thinking our policy leaders our

elected officials don't understand that

these aren't just discrete functions

from the PRC perspective the PRC is

waging war against us they're waging

what we would call in the military

combined arms warfare they're using

every asset they have every component

the Army Navy Air Force Marine Special

Operations okay apply that to political

warfare it's psychological operations

special measures again going back to

their their mentors this Chinese

Communist Party mentors was originally

Lenin and then Stalin and the Soviet

Union so it's the active measures or

special measures that they use to

include assassination kidnapping proxy

arms violence coercive efforts to

influence and to change the behavior of

other countries of other groups of their

own people to conform with exactly what

the CCP wants them to do our terminology

frankly is really undermining our

ability to fight back effectively

against the political war that's being

waged against us why is the Chinese

Communist Party doing this I mean why

can't we just get along

excellent question that I know that you

know the answer to but for the benefit

of your audiences worldwide you may not

fully understand the issue no one cares

if we're dealing with a quote rising

Canada no one cares if we're dealing

with a rising Brazil no one cares if

we're dealing even with a rising

Republic I care about a right

in Canada oh you've never trusted that

and you know as well you should but

again the maple leaf on that flag flying

overhead doesn't instill as much fear in

me as seeing the flag of the People's

Republic of China flying over Taiwan or

Washington DC and here's why the the

country we're dealing with the state

every word here I'm going to say is

important it is an increasingly

militarily and economically powerful

hyper nationalistic expansionist fascist

totalitarian regime all the other

countries Canada included are

democracies they're self-correcting if

the Republic of China next week decided

we're gonna build a 550 ship Navy twice

the size of the us Navy guess what the

regime that's in power would be out of

power come next election because the

people get self-correcting they're gonna

vote out people that in properly utilize

national assets national treasurer to

build militaries that you don't need for

peacetime defense People's Republic of

China isn't building a military for

peacetime defense they're using its for

coercion they're using it for expansion

again the nature of the regime counts

and this is what so many American

academics and a lot of policymakers

include foreign policy and foreign

service officers and and even a military

personnel certainly a lot of professors

that means it's what they don't get

we're not dealing with a benign country

the rise of China we can accommodate

that we can make them like us no we

can't it is again it's it's a very

dangerous state that we're dealing with

and it has no intention of being

co-opted and turned into a democratic

country that respects rule of law

respects Human Rights respects democracy

everything they do everything they do in

terms of suppressing their people

censoring our thoughts overseas setting

up proxy army say for example in Myanmar

the largest non-state military force a

most effective in Asia and arguably much

of the world is the

Walla State army it influences every

decision made by the government of

Myanmar Burma as we call it in America

well where are they getting those

brand-new tanks where are they getting

those brand new helicopters those brand

new uniforms the the the aks coming out

of the crates still in cosmoline didn't

just fall off the lorry of some you know

PRC of PLA truck in southern Yunnan it's

being provided on a systematic basis

along with the education training

facilities all the other things that

United wah State Army needs to be a

coercive proxy army within the borders

of Myanmar so this is the the nature of

the beast we're dealing with so that's

why we care the nature of the regime

here is incredibly intimidating it's

totalitarian and it's not one we can

afford to let win and hence we must do a

much better job of fighting on the

political warfare battlefields so I

think this is a very important point

that you're you're touching on that

political warfare is not the same as the

normal kind of competition that all

countries engage in political warfare is

war and that is how the PRC sees it

they're waging war against us now think

back about 20 years ago there was a

fellow running around in Southwest Asia

who would say in America I'm at war with

you I'm at war with you I'm gonna kill

your people I'm at war with you and a

lot of the officials in Washington DC

we're saying yeah look you got a towel

on your head you live in a cave hahaha

you're nothing serious well then on

September 11th 2001 when we had several

thousand Americans died very hideous

deaths at the hands of this individual

finally the US government woke up and

said yeah no kidding he was at war with

us we need to do it we need to have the

same recognition of what the People's

Republic of China's war against us how

that how that falls out what that looks

like and we can't do that based on our

own lack of education no one in senior

US Department of Defense schools teaches

PRC political warfare now one of the

academies of course but when you


war colleges your Army War College your

Naval War College your National Defense

University isn't preparing us on the

military side then you get you you have

a flawed defense strategy that can't

respond to the political warfare that's

PLA is waging very effectively against

us in co-opting incidentally retired

former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of

Staff vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs

of Staff was co-opted under what we call

a liaison program a United Front program

and as well as a number of other senior

American military officers same issue on

the State Department side the Scheldt

Center the the Foreign Service Institute

in Arlington Virginia they don't teach

it go go talk to them interview them and

say how do you prepare our either our

entry-level diplomats our foreign

service officers or the ones coming back

from mid-level training or other

training how do you prepare them to deal

with the existential threat posed by

Beijing with its political warfare the

existential threat being again they're

trying to destroy our country again the

cha Taiwan is the major target but every

one of our friends and allies how are we

preparing our diplomats to do that were

not why not complacency we won the Cold

War so at the end of the Cold War we

shut down our capabilities to fight on

the the information battlefield

effectively we shut down the us

Information Agency arguably it had

gotten soft and gotten rotten inside it

needed to be reformed it did not need to

be shut down the State Department was

ill-equipped psychologically

ideologically and and in terms of

manpower to take on that mantle

especially when it looked like we were

Chris at the end of history we didn't

need to worry about totalitarian regimes

anymore everything was going to be peace

love happiness and flowers and so we

didn't need that capability now that's

the downside we have become complacent

we don't have the education system in

either our government institutions or

our our civilian academic institutions

go to Georgetown go to any

there you know universities that pump

out our future diplomats see what

programs they have to address political

warfare pretty much non-existent so the

the downside is we are we are totally

unprepared we have generations of

diplomats generations of Department of

Commerce personnel at least you know

since 1992 they're not getting any

preparation to deal with us and hence

they can't recognize it a problem within

our country but a problem also within

our friends and allies most of them

can't recognize it or if they can't

recognize it they have zero capacity to

fight back you know I think that Chinese

Communist Party would accuse you of a

Cold War mentality I'm saddened I am


I'm angered and I'm act which is the way

that they have conditioned our news

media and many of our again government

officials to respond to anything that is

along the lines of what I just said

about John any criticism of China we

have become conditioned in many cases to

do anything we can to not anger or or

upset China I get those three words

specifically because if you look at

Reuters headlines routinely they'll

always have a headline such as and a


guaranteed to anger work or upset China

presidents I for example from Taiwan has

said she wants democracy and not one

country two systems' for Taiwan Reuters

could just as easily have written and a

move designed to hearten give hope to

the the free people of Taiwan president

psy has said we want freedom we want

democracy we don't want one country two

systems' but again our news media many

of our academics are think-tank world

has been infiltrated it's it's been

co-opted in many ways many and there

have allowed themselves to condition the

need to have their thoughts controlled

where they instinctively will say what

China wants them to say so was not to

upset China Oh

in some cases not to upset the flow of

funding from Chinese organizations so

based on what you're saying it's not so

much that the Chinese Communist Party is

forcing people to act in a way they want

it's more that they are manipulating

them to their own accord

do what the Communist precisely

psychological manipulation that gets

people to the point that they will do

instinctively what they think that China

the CCP wants them to do so as not to

offend China so what you have then is

pre-emptive actions for example we've

seen this within our own Department of

State where a lot of the policies that

restrict interaction with free and

democratic Taiwan they were never the

result of any agreements with Beijing

they were there weren't even

presidential level directives they were

just self-imposed restraints

increasingly oppressive over the years

within the the US government bureaucracy

that restrained us from what we could do

to support this country to survive

now that extended everything from the

arms sales that the Taiwan Relations Act

was supposed to they were supposed to go

on routinely oh well somehow they went

back to what almost zero for a total of

eight years and as far as interaction

ship visits even they're not you know

there's no agreement that says we can't

send a ship to galgioni a US military

ship to Gao Xiang there's a lot of

southern City and the southern cities of

the major port in southern Taiwan

there's all kinds of interaction they

could be that was prohibited because

it's self-restraint under what I would

call the red metric matrix I didn't come

up with that term but the red matrix is

you live in this the matrix like world

where you just do everything you think

will please China we can't say anything

bad about China we can't call China

totalitarian we can't call China

fascists I've seen this in the think

tank world I used to work there we can't

even call it a dictatorship

well why what's felt merriam-webster are

on our side in this case look up the

definition of fascist look up the

definition of totalitarian

every element in merriam-webster the PRC

fulfills dictatorship that's written

right in its Constitution yet I've heard

people in the think-tank world and even

US government officials saying well we

won't call it a dictatorship publicly we

just can't say that about China

it's the Lord Voldemort syndrome that we

see he all grew up with Harry Potter a

lot of my students grow up with Harry

Potter they understand the concept we

can't say Lord Voldemort's name because

bad things will happen well we see the

under the Shred matrix this this this

self-censorship the Lord Voldemort

syndrome in play not just in the United

States not just in academia and here in

Taiwan in many cases it's throughout the

world so the the PRC to give the PRC

credit where credit is due

it's political warfare has been

tremendously successful worldwide in

many cases now you could say well the

election outcome the other day shows

that it wasn't perfect

no but it's still ongoing they can they

see political warfare as a perpetual

struggle okay

there's Ebsen flows we don't have to go

kinetic we don't have to go to mid

intensity conflict but we're gonna keep

the struggle going perpetually until we

win well alright so let's get specific

what is the Chinese Communist Party

doing as far as political warfare goes

in Taiwan in Taiwan they've co-opted a

lot of the news media they've they

bought for example through again this is

through surrogates everything's a little

bit hard to prove in a court of law but

in reality are those in the know know

what's what's going on for example radio

stations down south where they don't

read newspapers as much for the radio in

the rural areas is is very important

they've bought the radio of many radio

stations that used to be either

you know Pro Taiwan or you know it's

certainly Pro freedom and democracy now

you see a very heavy influence of PRC

propaganda being broadcast over those

radio stations one one times the the

different news media either online and

prynt they've have been bought or

co-opted here so you got the news media

you've got from the mainland massive

social media attacks and social media

infiltration pretending to be you know

either concern Taiwanese pretending to

be even Americans there's all kinds of

ways they're trying to influence on the

the very extensive social media

battleground infiltration of academia

the there are certainly professors who

have gone what we call pan read here

political parties for those who aren't

familiar with Taiwan DPP Democratic you

know progressive parties is pan green

the KMT is pan blue well there's there's

another party there's other colors as

well and in this color spectrum of

political parties here but the ones

who've gone over to the PRC the ones who

are Pro quote reunification and that's a

that's a misnomer but we'll use the PRC

term who the ones who are Pro

reunification and want to do it tomorrow

on Beijing's terms we call them pay and

Reds so even they have infiltrated

academia and they have a tremendous

influence or at least tremendous

capability to influence the young people

of Taiwan because you have to get A's

from those professors you have to get

their recommendations if you want to go

on for master's degrees if you want to

go on for PhD in many cases they dictate

your success or failure in academia if

you do what they want go along you get

along if you don't do what they want and

what they want is for you to support the

PRC you have trouble well so what is

Taiwan doing about this Taiwan has begun

to take some steps Taiwan is that a

disadvantage just like the United States

because at the end of the Cold War when

we dismantled our capability to to fight

on the political warfare battlefields

then that was around the time that

Taiwan was democratizing and they were

able to speak freely about the white

terror which was the era when the the

KMT ruled with an iron hand and

basically slaughtered a lot of people

here and and repressed

civil rights and repressed a used rule

of law to oppress people rather than to

provide them what we would expect a

democracy to provide well around the

1980s the son of shang-chi shek to his

great credit who had been schooled

incidentally Shang Hana son had been

schooled in Leninist political warfare

and letting his tactics within the

Soviet Union but he helped lead his

country to democracy with the ability to

publicly speak about that in you know

that really vicious era of repression in

my mind the the this country went too

far the other way in eliminating laws

eliminating capabilities that would

allow them to detect expose and take

appropriate legal action against

infiltration rather recently last last

month of it was the end of the last year

at the end of December the anti

infiltration law was passed that as a

massive first step in helping to cut

down the amount of money and the kind of

mount of influence that could come in

from overseas affecting for example

elections much more needs to be done

though in terms of educating the public

educating government officials educating

business leaders about the threats posed

by PRC political warfare so why should

Americans be concerned about what the

Chinese Communist Party is trying to do

in Taiwan well first of all Taiwan is an

existential threat to the CCP Americans

are slowly beginning to realize that

we're in strategic competition with the

People's Republic of China they don't

understand fully that the PRC is at war

with us where Taiwan plays a very

important role is again it poses the

existential threat to the Chinese

Communist Party because it shows that

Chinese people can rule themselves in a


it is the narrative from the CCP that

Chinese people can't have freedom can't

have democracy can't rule themselves

they need the jackboot of oppression to

keep the country from fragmenting and

having all the split tests split and the

country devolving into chaos

you know Taiwan proves Chinese people

can rule themselves and they can they

can survive with dignity and they can

survive with prosperity under that

democratic rule so that's one of the

many readers several reasons that that

Beijing wants to take Taiwan for

Americans they have to realize we need

to stand by democracies democracies

worldwide and especially Taiwan Taiwan

has stood up heroic Li and almost alone

to the CCP if Taiwan can stand up just

like the Hong Kong protesters have been

you know they've achieved some

remarkable things especially with the

elections in Hong Kong if Taiwan can

continue to stand up against an

expansionist brutally repressive fascist

totalitarian regime that gives hope to

democracies around the world America

must support Taiwan for our own

self-interest in the interests of Japan

Republic of Korea all those a

Association of Southeast Asian Nations

ASEAN nations in the region you'd best

hope Taiwan doesn't fall because of this

base this island falls to the PRC then

it becomes a power projection platform

they don't care about the people of

Taiwan in Beijing I think they'll treat

them like Zhang Shan to treat them like

East Turkestan they'll have

concentration camps I think they'll do

the worst they can to punish them if

they do reunify that's my personal


but more importantly rather than even

dealing with the people what the PLA

what the CCP also wants this island for

submarine pens airfields so they can

project power further into the South

China Sea into Oceania where they have a

frankly of a neo-colonial ization effort

going on throughout the Pacific Islands

and massive influence malign influence

campaigns in Australia and New Zealand

they can

support those political warfare

campaigns in Oceania Pacific Islands

down to Australia New Zealand with

military power better now not just the

PLA Navy but but blood strategic bombers

out of Taiwan strategic other other

vessels and power projection forces

based here so the countries who are

democracies those countries that are

democracies around the world best

support a democracy like Taiwan and

David against Goliath here but also

those countries that even are

authoritarianism Acree j'en but do not

want to be under the jackboot of


oppression they best hope that Taiwan

does not fall and become a power

projection base for the People's

Liberation Army I know the Chinese

Communist Party would say that's really

the United States that the that's the

real troublemaker in the Pacific how

would you respond to people who argue

that the United States is actually the

worst aggressor you know I lose a lot of

sleep over that accusation by Beijing

it's tormented me it haunts me there see

they it irks yeah it upsets me as well

look it's one of many propaganda

narratives and it's successful in some

places I've seen the success that

they've had the infiltrating in the

countries that are supposedly friends

and allies of America they've done a

pretty good job of infiltrating out

social media and people buy into that

that line that we're the troublemaker

the reality is we're the only guarantor

of freedom democracy rule of law post

Westphalian rights within this region if

America is not here and to use the PRC

lexicon making trouble that is standing

up for democracies like Taiwan like

Japan like the Republic of Korea

Australia New Zealand if we're not here

no one else will have these strength to

do it and so what we we have seen what

has happened in the past with one

totalitarian regimes have marched

forward and no one stood up you know the

peace in our time we remember

appeasement in Europe in the 1930s when

no one was willing to stand up to Hitler

we'll just give him the sedating land

okay we do you know Czechoslovakia

that's fine he'll be happy he'll be

happy no they're never happy so we can't

we cannot appease we must confront we

must stop the forward march the

expansionism we must be able to counter

the political warfare which is again

their primary means of winning what they

want to achieve

we need to effectively counter it and

then we have a chance of surviving

Taiwan has will be able to survive the

other democracies will but they cannot

do it on their own

the United States just as in the Cold

War the United States has to be the

leader the unifying force the powerful

country that can give encouragement give

material support give psychological

support other types of support to those

nations standing up against the

totalitarian regime that is on the march

so if anyone watching want to learn more

about you or political warfare where

should they go well they can google my

name they can in political warfare or

the the number of articles will come up

about 20 in the past year-and-a-half and

they also can go to project 2049

Institute they can go to the global

Taiwan Institute they can go to the the

Hudson Institute now you're beginning to

see good organizations like the three

and there there's more exposing PRC

political warfare they've all done some

very good work on political warfare not

enough though we need to encourage

masters candidates we need to encourage

PhD candidates at the university level

too to do their theses on the issue it's

not just do it on soft power or hard

power or now whether the the the the

popular term is sharp power now do it on

political warfare that's the real battle

that we're fighting delve into it

professors need to

courage that so professors need to get

out of the Lord Voldemort syndrome and

start looking into it them sell their

the whole issue themselves and again

government officials if government

grants start flowing to academic

institutions and think tanks to pursue

this and come up with solutions how can

we effectively counter how can we

effectively fight and win on the

information battlefield that we do do

counter PRC political warfare you'll

start seeing a lot more intellectual

effort being invested into this and as I

understand you do have a book you're

working on I've got a book that will be

published sometime in late spring or

early June give you more information on

it when it's published but at this point

it's coming along very nicely and it

will address a large part of what we

talked about today but in substantive

detail with somewhere around 400

footnotes so fantastic I'm looking

forward to it ok thank you very much

Chris thanks for being here honor to be

here with you



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