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Countering Foreign Authoritarian Influence

Foreign authoritarian actors like China, Russia and Iran are taking an increasingly aggressive approach to exerting influence in democracies around the world, efforts recently expanded under the cover of COVID-19 responses. Utilizing economic leverage, information operations, and an expanding digital toolkit, these repressive states are bolstering autocrats and contributing to the erosion of democracy.

To aid vulnerable countries in the fight for freedom, IRI has developed programs that equip civil society, the media, government officials, political parties and the private sector with the knowledge and tools to expose and counter foreign authoritarian influence.

Resources

Reports

The International Republican Institute’s BRIDGE research is part of a growing compendium of case studies documenting authoritarian influence tactics and the elements of effective democratic resilience, which directly informs BRIDGE programming.

 

Chinese Malign Influence and the Corrosion of Democracy

Published on June 27, 2019

Report brings together research by experts from 12 vulnerable democracies — Cambodia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Serbia, Ecuador, Zambia, Mongolia, Hungary, The Gambia, Myanmar, Malaysia and the Maldives — and provides local perspectives on how China is impacting the politics and economics of these countries.

Read the Full ReportRead Executive Summary

Detecting Digital Fingerprints: Tracing Chinese Disinformation in Taiwan

Published on August 25, 2020

Report uncovered a series of campaigns by CCP-linked and domestic actors targeting Taiwan’s 2020 presidential election and its response to COVID-19 with narratives crafted to advance Beijing-strategic interests. Key findings include the discovery of new campaign tactics such as the use of Malaysian content farms, coordinated cross-platform campaigns and attempts to instigate U.S. participation.

Read the Full ReportRead Executive Summary

A World Safe for the Party: China’s Authoritarian Influence and the Democratic Response

Published on February 3, 2021

Report analyzes influence tactics the Chinese Communist Party has leveraged to protect its global interests and export its authoritarian model to Nepal, Georgia, Greece and Montenegro, with in-depth analyses of Kenya and Panama. Together, these studies expose the impact of CCP influence operations on fragile democracies across the globe.

Read the Full Report Read Executive Summary

External Publications

Democracy first: How the US can prevail in the political systems competition with the CCP

Patrick Quirk, David Shullman, Johanna Kao

How China is Exploiting the Pandemic to Export Authoritarianism

David Shullman

Protect the Party: China’s growing influence in the developing world

David Shullman

Want to prevail against China? Prioritize democracy assistance

Patrick Quirk, David Shullman

How Russia and China Undermine Democracy

David Shullman, Andrea Kendall-Taylor

China’s efforts to undermine democracy are expanding worldwide

Josh Rogin, Washington Post

China's Failed Pandemic Response in Africa

Adam George

Congressional Testimonies

U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services

Situation in Southeastern Europe
China’s Growing Influence in the Western Balkans

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, and Nonproliferation

China’s Growing Influence in Asia and the United States
China’s Malign Influence Across the Indo-Pacific

U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission

China’s Threat to Global Norms

Additional Resources

Countering Foreign Authoritarian Influence (CFAI)

To aid vulnerable countries in the fight for freedom, IRI has developed programs that equip civil society, the media, government officials, political parties and the private sector with the knowledge and tools to expose and counter foreign authoritarian influence

Bolstering Europe Against the Subversive Tactics of the Chinese Communist Party

The Bolstering Europe Against the Subversive Tactics of the Chinese Communist Party program leverages a three-step approach to overcoming policymaking roadblocks and inoculating European countries from CCP malign influence.

Building Resiliency for Interconnected Democracies in Global Environments (BRIDGE)

IRI’s flagship initiative to build resiliency against the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to exert authoritarian influence in vulnerable democracies takes a three-pronged approach to supporting actors in the global fight to bolster democratic resilience.

The Beacon Project

Vladimir Putin's Kremlin has waged an aggressive campaign of interference across Europe in an attempt to weaken European democracy and political commitment to core transatlantic institutions such as NATO and the EU. IRI created the Beacon Project to counter and inoculate against this threat in Europe.

Contact the Expert

David Shullman

Senior Advisor

David O. Shullman is Senior Advisor at the International Republican Institute, where he oversees IRI’s work addressing the influence of China and other autocracies on democratic institutions and governance in countries around the world. He is also an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

Contact David