Truth, Inspiration, Hope.

Germany’s Security Bureau Warns of Beijing’s Long Arm in Politics and Policy

Victor Westerkamp
Victor resides in the Netherlands and writes about freedom and governmental and social changes to the democratic form of nations.
Published: August 4, 2023
President of the Federal Bureau for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) Thomas Haldenwang attends a Federal Press Conference on June 15, 2021, in Berlin, Germany. The Bureau warned that China is actively trying to soft-soap German politics and influence decision-making by entertaining warm relationships with eminent people through its International Liaison Department (ILD) of the CCP. (Image: CHRISTIAN MARQUARDT-POOL/Getty Images)

The German Bureau for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) issued a security notice of Chinese interference and espionage targeting German politicians and authorities on July 28. 

According to the report, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has intensified efforts in Germany to obtain sensitive political information and influence government decision-making processes.

“In recent years, China’s state and party leadership has significantly stepped up its efforts to obtain high-quality political information and to influence decision-making processes abroad,” the statement said. 

This new, much more critical view of the BfV towards China aligns with the German government’s recently published China strategy paper, which says: “Under Xi Jinping, the People’s Republic, and the CCP are asserting their claim to international power more aggressively.”

Likewise, Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) recently spoke out against espionage by Chinese scholarship holders at German universities and research institutions. 

“China is increasingly becoming a competitor and systemic rival in science and research,” Stark-Watzinger said, according to southern Germany’s Mediengruppe Bayern.

Overt espionage in Germany

The BfV, which is Germany’s rough equivalent to the US FBI, further stated that the CCP has built a worldwide network of contacts and is constantly striving to expand it.

The International Liaison Department (ILD) of the CCP, for instance, plays a pivotal role in this. The ILD is directly subordinate to the Party’s Central Committee and has numerous clandestine posts within the government apparatus. 

The ILD presents itself as a political research institution with an international reach. It does so by conducting studies on the global political situation, parties, socialist movements, and critical international issues in exchange with academic institutions at home and abroad.

The stated goal of this government department is to contribute to the implementation of China’s “reform and opening-up policy” and the construction of “socialism with Chinese characteristics” and to advocate the CCP’s standings abroad.


To this end, ILD members are to establish contacts with politicians, parties, and party-affiliated organizations from the entire political spectrum worldwide. 

Its mode of operation, however, has evolved in recent years, as, according to BfV standards, it should now be classified as an arm of the Chinese secret services. 

The responsibilities and activities of the institutions of the party apparatus would now overlap with the mission and working methods of the “classical” secret services. They would now take on the function of informing their leadership about the political situation of other states and their military and economic potential.

Understanding ‘Chinese values’

The German domestic intelligence service also worries about the “historically grown relations” between German politicians, parties, and political organizations that hold the generally shared view of the ILD as a “trustworthy and important cooperation partner.”

ILD members have managed to get in touch with nearly all influential personalities in Germany without reservation and maintain existing contacts, the BfV says.

It would be a common practice for ILD members first to seek an understanding of “Chinese values” from German parliamentarians of all parties. The focus would be on German members of parliament who have a comparatively uncritical attitude toward the Chinese government and recruit them to advocate its interests.

The ILD and other Communist Party outreach organizations function as part of the CCP’s “united front” strategy, which seeks to build rapport with non-communist entities for the purpose of manipulating and subverting them. 

“The long-term goal is to persuade influential people to speak out and act in the interests of the CCP and to establish a network of contacts in Germany that supports the CCP’s political agenda,” said the report.

In practice, this is achieved by inviting current or former members of parliament to China to help them “correct” their image of China and reshape it in line with the CCP’s agenda, the BfV reported.