Mapping China’s Footprint in the World IV:

CCP Influence in the Nordic-Baltic Region


10 December 2021 at 9:30-18:00 at the International Centre for Defence and Security (Narva road 63/4, Tallinn, Estonia)





Sinopsis and the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute (EFPI) at the ICDS will organise the fourth international research workshop in a series “Mapping China’s Footprint in the World” in Tallinn, Estonia to update the research and policy communities’ understanding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence work, detailing the activities of often ignored influence agencies.

New findings of empirical research will be presented, shedding new light on the key role the party-state’s security and intelligence apparatus plays in the party’s influence operations in Europe and beyond.

A dedicated panel will focus on Scandinavia and the Baltic states, including the presentation of new reports surveying CCP influence in Sweden and Estonia based on extensive empirical research with Chinese-language sources.

The activities of specific influence agencies, notably in the security system, will be discussed in another panel presenting new research on Italy, Poland and international law enforcement cooperation.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the physical workshop at ICDS in Tallinn is limited to invited policy-makers and other stakeholders only. Registration in advance via the link provided in the invitation is required. Others will be able follow the presentations and discussions online:

About “Mapping China’s Footprint in the World” Series

“Mapping China’s footprint in the world” is a series of research workshops initiated by Sinopsis on the CCP-led political system and its influence operations abroad. Since the inaugural workshop, held in 2018, it has gathered together leading specialists to discuss new research at the frontier of the community’s knowledge of CCP influence, methodological challenges it raises, and its distillation into summaries and recommendations for policy-makers.

In previous editions, workshop events have reached global audiences from, within government, defence, diplomacy, home affairs, law enforcement and intelligence, as well as politics, academia, think tanks, media and the private and NGO sectors.

Research presented or discussed at the workshops has been reflected in the adoption of new concepts, attention to CCP influence activities and specific policy measures in Europe, Asia, Australia, Latin America and the US, and cited in academic papers and books, think-tank reports, parliamentary submissions and media stories.

The People’s Republic of China Ministry of State Security’s detention of a participant following the first, closed-door, workshop further highlighted research ecosystem’s leading role in the exposure of CCP operations.

Click here to watch the workshop in 2020.



EFPI at the ICDS organises the event together with Sinopsis that initiated this series of annual research workshops. Sinopsis is a Prague-based project researching PRC politics in scholarly collaboration with the Department of Sinology at Charles University, to bring the findings and insights of a group of leading European, Australian and US researchers focusing on the CCP to the region’s policy-makers and the general public.




9:30 Registration


10:00 – 11:30 Opening panel: The extraterritorial projection of PRC state security

The research and policy communities’ attention on CCP influence operations has recently focused on their manifestation as élite capture and discourse engineering activity, carried out by propaganda, united front and foreign affairs organs and their fronts. The panel will discuss new research highlighting the external operations of the PRC’s security apparatus, including the previously under researched intelligence involvement in propaganda and united front work.

Opening remarks

  • Dr Kristi Raik, Director of EFPI at the ICDS
  • Dr Martin Hála, Director of Sinopsis

Borrowed boats capsizing: State-security links exposed as a propaganda-laundering scheme unravels

  • Dr Martin Hála, Director of Sinopsis and Sinologist with Charles University

CCP overseas security operations

  • Alex Joske, Independent Researcher

The East rises, borders fade: China’s political-legal extrusion in Europe

  • Dr Matthew D. Johnson, Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution


11:30 – 14:00 Break


14:00 – 15:45 Panel 1: Influence operations as a multi-system effort

No single party, state or military agency monopolises the CCP’s external influence work. Rather, each major system composing the CCP-led bureaucracy includes organs and fronts active in influence work abroad. This panel will present three new studies that contribute to a multi-system understanding of party-state actors and their proxies, detailing their interactions with specific locales and targets in the democratic world. In addition to influence agencies in the CCP foreign affairs, propaganda and united front systems, the studies highlight the role of organs in the economic system, notably the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), as well as security organs.

CCP influence agencies and their operations in Italian parliamentary and local politics

  • Laura Harth, Campaign Director, Safeguard Defenders

Party-state organisations as facilitators of Chinese-Polish economic cooperation

  • Łukasz Sarek, China Market Analyst

Protecting political security abroad: International cooperation with the PRC Ministry of Public Security

  • Filip Jirouš, Researcher, Sinopsis

The Chinese party-state’s rhizomatic attempt at co-opting Swiss academia

  • Dr Ralph Weber, Associate Professor, European Global Studies at the University of Basel


15:45 – 16:00 Break


16:00 – 17:40 Panel 2: The Nordic-Baltic region

The multi-system nature of CCP influence work manifests itself in the party-state’s operations to co-opt policy-making élites in Scandinavia and the Baltic states. The workshop’s concluding panel will present new studies on influence operations in Sweden and Estonia, as well as insights on the recent evolution of Lithuania’s relationship with China and Taiwan.

Wine for friends, shotguns for enemies: The CCP’s influence work in Sweden

  • Pär Nyrén, Independent Researcher

Updates in Lithuania’s one-China policy: PRC vs ROC

  • Justina Razumaitė, Lecturer, Vilnius University

CCP influence activities in Estonia

  • Frank Jüris, Research Fellow, EFPI at the ICDS


17:40 Concluding remarks

  • Frank Jüris, Research Fellow, EFPI at the ICDS
  • Dr Martin Hála, Director of Sinopsis


The discussions will be moderated by Frank Jüris, Research Fellow of the EFPI at the ICDS. Coffee, tea and snacks will be served during the breaks.


Martin Hála

Director of Sinopsis

Dr Martin Hála is a Prague-based sinologist. Educated in Prague, Shanghai, Berkeley, and at Harvard, he has taught at universities in Prague and Bratislava, and conducted research in China, Taiwan, and the U.S. He helped set up the China Media Project at the University of Hong Kong and co-edited its first English-language book. Dr Hála worked for several media-assistance organizations in Europe and Asia, and from 2014-2015 served as the Regional Manager for Asia-Pacific at the Open Society Foundations. At present, he teaches at Charles University in Prague and is the Director of the non-profit institute AcaMedia, and its flagship project

Laura Harth

Campaign Director, Safeguard Defenders

Laura Harth is a political activist for human rights and the rule of law with a focus on China. With degrees in international law, human rights and international relations, she regularly contributes to Italian news outlets and serves as a regional liaison for the Inter Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC) and on the Advisory Group of Hong Kong Watch. She recently coauthored “Hijacking the Mainstream”, the first comprehensive report on CCP influence in Italian parliamentary and local politics, jointly published by the Global Committee for the Rule of Law Marco Pannella and Sinopsis and covered by mainstream Italian and international media.

Filip Jirouš

Researcher, Sinopsis

Filip Jirouš graduated in Sinology at Charles University in Prague with the first comprehensive study of united front work in a European country. As a researcher with Sinopsis, he has published on Czech universities’ cooperation with PLA-linked institutions, the CCP united front system’s propaganda activities in Europe, and other aspects of the party-state’s influence work. His work has been cited in parliamentary debates, academic publications and media investigations.

Frank Jüris

Research Fellow, EFPI at the ICDS

Frank Jüris focuses in his research on China’s domestic and foreign policy, EU-China and Sino-Russian relations. Jüris studied in Estonia and Taiwan and has lectured at the universities of Tartu and Tallinn. In recent publications for EFPI and Sinopsis, he has exposed the involvement of party-state agencies in Arctic infrastructure projects and Estonian politics. In a new report, he presents the first comprehensive overview of CCP influence in a Baltic country.

Matthew D. Johnson

Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution

Dr Matthew D Johnson is also founder and principal of AltaSilva, LLC. His expertise covers China’s contemporary elite politics, strategic thinking, and political control over the financial sector and private economy. Matthew’s research has focused on propaganda, Chinese Communist Party ideology, cultural security, state-society relations, and the Cold War. He has recently co-authored a report on China’s digital RMB, The flipside of China’s central bank digital currency, with the ASPI International Cyber Policy Centre.

Alex Joske

Independent Researcher

Alex Joske’s research focuses on espionage, political interference, and technology transfer by the Chinese Communist Party. His work has driven significant policy changes and law enforcement efforts in the United States, Australia, Japan, Canada and the United Kingdom. He has testified on his research before the Australian Parliament and was invited to appear before a US Senate committee. He was previously an analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute where he produced influential reports on the Chinese military, research collaboration and united front work. Before that, he worked as the researcher for Clive Hamilton’s book “Silent Invasion: China’s Influence in Australia”.

Pär Nyrén

Independent Researcher

Pär Nyrén’s research focuses on Chinese industrial policy and the CCP’s influence work. His writings have been published by the Swedish Centre for China Studies, the Swedish Defence Research Agency, and in Jamestown Foundation’s “China Brief”. He received a BA from Uppsala University and an MA from Stockholm University and studied Chinese at Peking University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University. He has researched the CCP’s influence activities in Sweden as a non-resident fellow at Sinopsis.

Kristi Raik

Director, EFPI at the ICDS

Dr Kristi Raik has been the Director of the Estonian Foreign Policy Institute at the ICDS since February 2018. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Turku. Dr Raik has previously served inter alia as a Senior Research Fellow and Acting Programme Director at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs in Helsinki; an official at the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union in Brussels; and a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels and the International Centre for Policy Studies in Kyiv. Dr Raik has a PhD from the University of Turku. She has published, lectured and commented widely on European foreign and security policy.

Justina Razumaitė

Lecturer, Vilnius University

Justina Razumaitė studied at Vytautas Magnus University (Lithuania) and National Chengchi University (Taiwan). Since 2011, she has worked as a diplomat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, while maintaining her connection with academia by giving lectures on East Asian Politics at Vilnius University. Justina’s research interests include East Asian politics, China – Taiwan relations, Chinese politics and international relations.

Łukasz Sarek

China Market Analyst

Łukasz Sarek is a researcher and China market analyst. For over ten years, he worked in the private sector in China. He currently works as a China economy analyst in a public institution as well as privately, mainly focused on Chinese-Polish economic relations. He also conducts independent research on CCP influence building in Poland and was a non-resident fellow at Sinopsis. In previous publications with Sinopsis, he has presented original research and analysis on the Polish activities of PRC technology companies, Chinese investments in Poland and changes in Poland’s relationship with China.

Ralph Weber

Associate Professor, European Global Studies at the University of Basel

Dr Ralph Weber holds PhD in Political Science from University of St. Gallen. Weber has worked for the University of St. Gallen and the University of Zurich as a researcher and a lecturer. From 2017 to 2021, Ralph Weber was president of the European Association for Chinese Philosophy. Weber specializes in Political Theory, Chinese Politics, and modern Confucianism. In 2020 Weber published with Sinopsis preliminary study on efforts by the Chinese Party-State to influence Swiss society, which received widespread attention.



COVID-19 Information

The COVID-19 pandemic requires us to take additional precautions to ensure as far as possible the safety and health of our guests. We are aiming to organise a physical research workshop with a limited number of guests. We will strictly follow the health protocols and codes of conduct which are in force in December.

Please note that this is an invitation-only event. In order to participate, you have to register in advance and you are required to present a vaccination certificate, or a document proving that you have been ill with COVID-19 in the past 180 days.