Bolstering Europe Against the Subversive Tactics of the CCP (BEAST)

IRI is working with political parties across Europe to raise awareness regarding the foreign influence strategies of the CCP and their negative effect on democratic institutions. A primary objective of the program is to establish channels of discussion and spur regional cooperation in developing policy decisions that bolster Europe against the malign influence that the CCP has been using in the region for over a decade. To achieve this goal, IRI has taken a baseline assessment of the current level of awareness of China’s influence among elected officials and party members in the region and conducting closed-door briefings on the topic. To raise awareness around these issues and enhance public discourse, IRI convenes parliamentarians to discuss openly the risks of engagement with China and the CCP.   

For the program, 2021 was a very productive year, as it held numerous roundtables and consultations with European parliamentarians to lay the groundwork for cooperation and collaboration, both with IRI and with each other in interparliamentary frameworks. Most notably, on October 4, 2021, IRI held a roundtable on the margins of the Warsaw Security Forum in Warsaw, Poland. IRI convened 15 members of parliaments from 11 countries and three Legislative Assistants in Warsaw to discuss challenges that democracies in the Transatlantic space face with the rise of an authoritarian China. The gathering was broken into three sessions, all of which were related to Sino-Transatlantic relations, building Transatlantic solidarity, and bolstering cooperation against authoritarian influences.  

The BEAST Project also held productive virtual briefings throughout the year with the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), Hungary’s leading foreign policy think tank The Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade (IFAT), and Lithuania’s Homeland Union Party (just prior to Lithuania’s departure from the 17+1 initiative). On the ground in Budapest, Hungary, the BEAST team held a panel at the Budapest Forum focused on Chinese subnational influence in the region, featuring Lord Mayor of Prague Zdeněk Hřib, along with other experts. Now in its second year of programming, the BEAST Project is developing new methods to strengthen resilience against CCP malign influence in the region. 

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