Thursday, September 21, 2023

China Uses Interests in Foreign Ports for Surveillance and Intelligence Collection

 Foreign Policy published on 20 September 2023 a commentary titled "How China Uses Shipping for Surveillance and Control" by Elaine Dezenski and David Rader, both with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.  

The Chinese government has spent the past three decades trying to gain access and influence in the open seas, strategic shipping lanes, and foreign ports around the globe.  China owns, co-owns, or operates some 96 foreign ports.  China has introduced massive and little-understood information gathering infrastructure at critical ports worldwide.  Chinese laws require that all Chinese companies operating overseas--both private and state-owned--gather and report intelligence on foreign entities to the Chinese government. 

Chinese commercial ports routinely host Chinese military vessels and could act as critical resupply points or repair facilities during a conflict.  To this end, China is increasingly pursuing civilian-military interoperability in maritime infrastructure and other domains.