With the aggressive expansionism and sheer human rights abuses by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), civil liberties activists and academia in the US have now begun to raise demand to designate it as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Similar to several other countries, the United States is also concerned about the growing espionage and expansionist activities of China that could be categorised as terror activities.
The US is especially concerned about covert activities like the Confucius Institutes network, illicit trade practices, intellectual thefts, recent cover-up of the Wuhan COVID-19 spread, and numerous influence operations. Similarly, cyber attacks, the development of islands in the South China Sea, aggression in the Indo-Pacific and South and East China sea are some of the major developments concerning the US. According to the experts of the US law, these activities can certainly be classified as terror activities.
The party also faces serious charges of massacres, abductions and organ harvesting. CCP’s political-legal Affairs Commission has carried out a series of abductions to further its foreign policy agenda and silence the dissidents. It has abducted numerous dissidents, including those staying in foreign countries, leading to their kidnapping, arbitrary detention, and enforced disappearance.
Chinese Communist Party’s overbroad and overreaching actions have led to the abductions of even “internationally protected persons”, including the infamous abduction of Simon Cheng. Scholars argue that the CCP has launched a ‘purge campaign’ for eliminating dissidents and ethnic communities all over the country. As a part of the campaign, the CCP has also forcefully detained and harvested the organs of countless Falun Gong practitioners.
Several Congressional reports, testimonies by CCP leaders, and civil society reports have exposed the bloodthirsty activities of the Party. It has been highlighted that these practitioners are detained in ‘psychiatric facilities’ or ‘black jails’, injected with psychotropic drugs, and subjected to intense torture to abandon their faith and identities.
The Tibetan community in China is facing a similar plight. In fact, Tibetans have become the community that has gone through the highest number of self-immolation incidents in history. The recent 2019 Human Rights Report by the US State Department has highlighted the lethal human rights abuses against the Tibetans including acts like arbitrary detentions, custodial torture, forced abortion, sterilization, etc.
It is also relentlessly trying to suppress Buddhism and reverence of the Dalai Lama destroying and shutting monasteries – over 6 thousand of them. The CCP has also indulged in several sinful acts of disrobing the monks, beating them up, and also making them spit on pictures of the Dalai Lama. According to a report of the Australian news platform Sydney Morning Herald, at least 500,000 rural Tibetan labourers and peasants were detained and captured in military-style training centres, earlier in 2020.
In like of the above, over a million Uighur Muslims have been detained in concentration camps in China and are being subjected to torture, forced labour, brainwashing. The condition is so serious that Uighurs are either burning down the holy Quran in their possession or are wrapping them in plastic and throwing them into rivers flowing to the Central Asian countries.
Interestingly, it has also designated civil society groups led by exiled Uighur human rights activists like the World Uighur Congress as terrorist entities. Observers argue that these purge campaigns have certain common characteristics and similar modus operandi. The selection of groups being targeted is done by the Party and they are designated an ‘enemy’.
Since the ‘Cultural Revolution’, all the documents of instructions on persecuting the ‘enemy’ communities have been issued by the Party Central Committee. The Party then makes the battle of ‘Party vs Enemy’ of ‘People vs Enemy’, through its propaganda channel and state-controlled media. Then the community is targetted under the logic of the Party’s idea of ‘douzheng’ (unlawful torture and persecution).
The general police forces under Party’s political-legal Affairs Committee are deployed within the community to launch a crackdown. Citizens from those vulnerable communities are surveilled 24×7. Eventually, the ‘Enemy’ community is subjected to ‘Zhuan Huan’ or ‘forced conversion’.
In addition to these purge operations, the CCP has also carried out direct sabotages or hijacks of several vessels, especially in the South China sea vessels. These sabotage attacks are carried out by the Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM) aka People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia, operating under the command of the PLA. Between 2012 to 2019, the CMM sabotaged and sunk numerous Vietnamese, Filipino, and South Korean vessels in the high seas. Besides the CMM, the CCP has also been using its Central Military Commission’s China Coast Guard to dominate neighbouring high deep waters and create instability in the region.
The targeted killings and assassinations of dissidents further add to the weightage of qualifications of the Party to be recognised as a terrorist entity. Scholars argue the fact that the activities of the CCP are similar to the Communist Party of the Philippines, which was designated an FTO in 2002. These acts are also similar to those being committed in North Korea under Kim Jong Un and Syria. So why can’t the CCP be designated as a terror organisation?
Like the US and several other democratic countries, India too faces the threat of covert and overt terror activities of China. The recent arrest of scribe Rajeev Sharma with Chinese agents, growing influence operations in the Indian media, entertainment industry, academia and political circles highlight the intensity of involvement of pro-Chinese players in India. It seems that a lot happening in India is being decided by the CCP. Further, incidents like the recent expose of China’s espionage on top Indian personalities and countless cyber-attacks reflect China’s role in terror and undermining the peace of the region.
China has also backed a number of Pakistani terrorist outfits and has sabotaged the efforts to designate Maulana Masood Azhar as a terrorist. Magazines like ‘Foreign Policy’ have termed Azhar as China’s ‘favourite terrorist’, Jaish-e-Mohammad – the outfit led by Azhar has clear links with Al Qaeda and ISKP, forming a global network of terror to destabilise the whole world.
All these activities certainly classify as terrorism. Also, the repercussions of developments in India’s neighbour including Tibet, Hong Kong, and Xinjiang shall indeed be observed in India as well. Hence, there is an urgent need by the democratic nations to designate the CCP as a proscribed terrorist organisation in their nations as well as in the international fora.
The designation of CCP as a terrorist organisation is important for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is mandatory to check Chinese covert operations and in the country and restrict and punish every stakeholder contributing to such operations. This provision is important as it would be a prerequisite to instil the fear of penalty and punishment in individuals and organisations in the US on charges of supporting the CCP. Thus, breaking the entire network and structure of the Party in the host country. Further, CCP cadres and representatives might be restricted from entering into the country and any foreign national found guilty of assisting the Party could be deported back.
Another major necessity to designate the CCP is to limit the finances of its covert operations. Financial institutions could then restrict the flow of finances and seize the assets of the convicts. Deprivation of resources shall inhibit the expanse of Party and intensification of its operations. In the case of the US, issues like the engagement of mass sales of US treasury securities by the Party can be limited. Similarly, in the Indian scenarios, the activity of the Party through Chinese companies in India can be checked as it is not a secret fact anymore that top Chinese companies are controlled by the CCP and the PLA. Given the burgeoning influence of Chinese investments and companies in the domestic market can act as a panacea for India.
Designating as a terror entity also shall also help to expose and prosecute the members of the espionage or covert operations racket. Most
importantly, it is important to break the back of UFWD operating in the country. Designation of the Party as a terror outfit shall give a big-big message that it exploits terrorism as a means to further its agenda across the world.
Certainly, the designation is mandatory to protect a number of vulnerable communities from genocide and extinction and promote civil liberties and democratic rights in the world. Above all, the designation is essential to create peace, stability, and rule-based world order.