Authoritarian governments are evolving new ways to navigate a US-dominated international system that has long been weighed against their interests. Russia is the most obvious recent case with its high-profile disinformation and hybrid warfare strategies. But there’s another rising power on the forefront of these influencing operations: China.

In order to consolidate CCP legitimacy at home and abroad, President Xi has resurrected an idea that’s as old as communism itself. The united front was famously credited by Chairman Mao as one of the ‘magic weapons’ that helped the CCP defeat a far more powerful opponent in the Chinese civil war. But this latest manifestation is anything but a direct transplant from a century ago. Rather it has been overhauled and refit for purpose in the modern age, playing to the CCP’s strengths and exploiting the weaknesses of its more liberal adversaries.

And so far it seems to be working.