Human Rights and
International Democratic Solidarity

Research Reports

International Relations and Human Rights Observatory

02-12-2021

The art of making friends. How the Chinese Communist Party seduces political parties in Latin America

In order to persuade the political class, the CCPleaders have been especially adept at adoptingattractive positions both on the left and on theright of the ideological arc, thereby building theirinfluence in the region without much resistance.50All of this occurs in a context of political parties’crisis of representation and loss of relevance inLatin America, where the so-called new politics isincreasingly linked to specific actors and individuals rather than to party platforms. In the midstof political corruption and growing dissatisfactionwith democracy, the ghost of caudillo politicalleaders in Latin America looms. Hence, there isan environment of confusion in which Chinesediplomacy moves like a fish in water
 
Flavio-Cancemi JUAN PABLO CARDENAL Spanish journalist and researcher specializing in the internationalization of China. He is the co-author of three books on the topic published between 2011 and 2015, works that have been translated into twelve languages, among other books and chapters. He is an associate researcher at the Center for the Opening and Development of Latin America (CADAL). He is also the author of several studies on China and Russia’s sharp power in Latin America.

He was a correspondent in China for a decade. He is currently researching the effects of China’s political and economic presence in Latin America, its propaganda and disinformation campaigns as well as its global influence. He gives conferences and seminars, in addition to publishing articles on this subject in some of the main international newspapers. His latest book is La telaraña: la trama exterior del procés [The spider web: the foreign plot of the procés], published in 2020, which addresses the political crisis in Catalonia.
 

Contents

The art of making friends
4
1 -  The Chinese Communist Party deploys its diplomacy 4
2 -  Cultivating influence to legitimize the CCP 6
3 -  Objective: to support China’s foreign policy 8
4 -  The temptation of the elites: An effective development model without democracy 10
5 -  The International Department: At the front of the CCP’s diplomacy 11
6 -  Friendship associations, the other pillar of influence operations 13
7 -  By way of conclusion: The mission to decipher China 15
Annex. Meetings of the Chinese Communist Party with political parties in Latin America – 2002 to 2020  16
Juan Pablo Cardenal
Juan Pablo Cardenal
Research Associate
Writer, journalist. Foreign correspondent in China for various Spanish newspapers between 2003 and 2014, focusing on China’s international expansion since 2009. Since then, he has done research on the consequences of China’s investments, infrastructure and loans in 40 different countries from 4 continents. The research resulted in books he co-authored, among them “La silenciosa conquista China” (2011) and “La imparable conquista de China” (2015), which were translated to 12 languages. Since 2016, he has directed research projects oriented to understanding China’s soft power and Beijing’s strategy to achieve political influence in Latin America. He has been a speaker in various international conferences and has published articles in El País, El Mundo, Clarín, The New York Times, Project Syndicate and the South China Morning Post. His last book is “La telaraña” (2020), on the internacional thread of political crisis in Catalunia.