In 2015, China’s military modernization efforts and its assertive activities in the East and South China Seas dominate public discourse on China’s growing influence. While these developments are usually viewed through a military lens, the People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) activities should be considered and examined as an instrument of statecraft to achieve specific political outcomes as a form of political warfare.

Chinese political warfare and influence operations actively target foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals to shape their perceptions and behavior. Driven by its political goals, Chinese influence operations are a centerpiece of the PRC’s overall foreign policy and military strategy.