Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A group of leading China specialists and students of one-party systems under the auspices of the Hoover Institution and the Center on U.S.-China Relations of the Asia Society have issued a long report titled Chinese Influence & American Interests: Promoting Constructive Vigilance.

Between the lines: The report is interesting, balanced, timely and has some good ideas about how to deal with the threats — but it is a mistake to talk about “Chinese influence” when the issue is Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence and interference operations. Just saying "Chinese" is a dangerous conflation that can spark anti-Chinese sentiment. To paraphrase Confucius, names matter.

The big picture: The report comes at a time when many Western governments, led by Australia, are waking up to the activities of the CCP inside their countries.

John Garnaut, a participant in today's report and one of the leading forces behind Australia's awakening, told me:

  • The great significance of this report is that it shows how the China-watching community has turned.
  • The experts across the United States and further afield who came together to write this report are by no means China hawks. This group has been leading the engagement effort over many decades. These are people who share a great commitment to China and its people, without exception.
  • But gradually, and reluctantly, they have accepted — we have had to accept — that China under General Secretary Xi Jinping is materially different to the China we knew under Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.
  • The liberalizing forces of civil society and market economics are not prevailing. The possibilities for reform have narrowed, and they have been pushed further over the horizon, and the risks to our own open societies have grown.
  • So the policy of engagement has to be coupled with a commitment to managing risk. 

Why it matters: The threats from CCP influence and interference are real, but it is important the U.S. take a measured, targeted approach against "covert, coercive or corrupting" methods while avoiding channeling Base Commander Jack Ripper's classic quote in Dr. Strangelove:

"I can no longer sit back and allow Communist infiltration, Communist indoctrination, Communist subversion, and the international Communist conspiracy to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids."

Go deeper:

  • Read the full report here.
  • Fearing espionage, U.S. weighs tighter rules on Chinese students, via Reuters
  • How WeChat helped a Chinese American immigrant win a seat in the Maryland statehouse, via The Washington Post

Go deeper

Updated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging — Pence no longer expected to attend Barrett confirmation vote after COVID exposure.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day case records last week — U.S. reports over 80,000 new cases for second consecutive day.
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. World: Restrictions grow across Europe.
  6. Media: Fox News president and several hosts advised to quarantine.
54 mins ago - Podcasts

The art and business of political polling

The election is just eight days away, and it’s not just the candidates whose futures are on the line. Political pollsters, four years after wrongly predicting a Hillary Clinton presidency, are viewing it as their own judgment day.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the polls, and what pollsters have changed since 2016, with former FiveThirtyEight writer and current CNN politics analyst Harry Enten.

Twitter launches warnings on election misinformation and delays

Photo: courtesy of Twitter

Twitter will start pinning notices to the top of all U.S. Twitter users’ timelines warning that results in next week’s election may be delayed and that they may encounter misinformation on mail-in voting.

Why it matters: Delayed election results are expected across many states that are handling unprecedented amounts of absentee and mailed ballots, which President Trump has baselessly called "very dangerous" and "corrupt."