Political elites in liberal democracies are showing heightened concern about threats to national security from the overseas political activities of the Peopleâ€™s Republic of China (PRC) and its supporters. This Whitehall Paper argues that an effective liberal democratic policy response requires careful disaggregation of distinct sets of risks: to national security; civil liberties; and academic freedom. Although widely cited as a model to follow, Australiaâ€™s response to these issues illustrates how aggregation of these diverse risks into a singular national security threat â€“ commonly labelled â€˜Chinese influenceâ€™ â€“ can produce alarmist public policy discourse, legislative overreach and mismatched institutional responsibilities. The Paper suggests a set of measures for liberal democracies to manage their engagement with Chinaâ€™s powerful and increasingly authoritarian party-state.
Table of Contents
1. Coneptual Language: The Problem with 'Chinese Influence'
2. Disaggregating the Risks
3. Risks of Reaction: Australia's Experience with Aggregation
4. Managing the risks
Conclusions: Two 'World Outlooks'
Andrew Chubb is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow based in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion at Lancaster University, where he researches the linkages between Chinaâ€™s domestic politics and international relations. A graduate of the University of Western Australia, his current project focuses on the role of domestic public opinion in international crisis diplomacy in the Asia-Pacific. More broadly, Andrewâ€™s interests include maritime and territorial disputes, strategic communication, political propaganda and Chinese Communist Party history. His recent research articles can be found in International Security, International Relations of the Asia-Pacific and Asian Security.