On April 2, 2022, Avv. Lifang Dong, President of the Silk Council Association and founder of the Dong & Partners international law firm, held a video conference lecture on "Chinese Intelligence Services and the New Silk Road" to 47 soldiers (carabinieri, police, army, customs office and financial police), freelancers and graduates in the Master in Intelligence of the University of Calabria, directed by Prof. Mario Caligiuri, President of the Italian Intelligence Society (SOCINT).
In her lecture, Avv. Dong talked about the geopolitical role of China and the historic reforms that have led the country to be among the top economies in the world. The new political guidelines that emerged in the 5th and 6th plenary of the XIX Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and in the "Two sessions" of the Political Consultative Conference (ccppc) and the National People's Congress (NPC) held from 4 to 11March 2022 were analyzed. An overview of the main Chinese trade exchanges and recent trade agreements reached at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics was also illustrated.
We then moved on to talk about the current Chinese intelligence system based on an all-encompassing concept of national security aimed at preserving political, economic and social stability and the survival of the Communist Party. This system is characterized by a complex and centralized structure headed by the Central National Security Commission, chaired by President Xi Jinping, and by a more proactive approach than in the past through a mechanism of public and private integration, the use of new technologies and 'adoption of new laws with extraterritorial application. Avv. Dong made particular reference to Chinese policies on smart cities, the social credit system and Chinese national security and intelligence laws, including the data security law and the personal data protection law passed in 2021.
The lecture ended with a focus on bilateral relations between China - USA, China - Europe and China - Italy.
With regard to China-US relations, the Biden administration has seen a relaxation of relations and an increase in trade between the two countries. The US removed duties on hundreds of Chinese products and the two presidents discussed the situation of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict in an online interview on March 18. At this meeting, President Xi Jinping reiterated that China does not want war in Ukraine and that it is necessary to get out of the cold war mentality to ensure a peaceful, stable and prosperous future for the entire international community, also underlining how radical and indiscriminate sanctions would do only suffer people and could trigger serious crises in the global economy and in trade, finance, energy, food and industrial and supply chains, paralyzing the world economy.
On China-Europe relations, the China-EU Investment Agreement (to be ratified), the China-EU Agreement on geographical indications for the export of food and beverages (entered into force on 1 March 2021) and cooperation 1+17 of China with Eastern Europe in the infrastructure, agriculture and energy sectors are of particular relevance. Finally, an update of the state of China-Europe relations took place with the Summit of last April 1, 2022.
On relations between China and Italy, Mr. Dong recalled that 2020 was the 50th anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between the two countries and already 16 years since the signing of the strategic partnership. In 2021, bilateral trade between China and Italy reached USD 74 billion, an increase of + 34% compared to 2020. Italy also joined the New Silk Road in 2019, although with the passage of the Prime Minister to Mario Draghi there has been a tightening of relations, as Italy has made extensive use of golden power towards Chinese investments in the semiconductor, screen printing equipment and seeds sectors.
Reference was also made to some successful cases of Sino-Italian cooperation such as the Sino-Italian Ecological Park of Ningbo, created in 2014 on the agreement of the Italian and Chinese governments and with which the Silk Council Association chaired by Avv. Dong signed a strategic cooperation agreement, which led on June 11, 2021 to the realization of the international webinar "green silk road to sine park: attraction of international talents and business projects".
Finally, Avv. Dong concluded: “For some China is a threat, for others a country with which to ally, giving life to a new geopolitical order. There are many intermediate positions, adopted by numerous European countries that intend to do business with Beijing, protecting their own interests, without necessarily abandoning the Atlantic axis. The fight against climate change and mediation in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict are today two important diplomatic grounds for dialogue between China, the US and the European Union ”.
We thank Prof. Mario Caligiuri, Dr. Mariangela Caldani for the invitation and all the participants for their attention.
Calabria Live, April 19, 2022 (Italian version)