In This Review

Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party Is Reshaping the World
Hidden Hand: Exposing How the Chinese Communist Party Is Reshaping the World
By Clive Hamilton and Mareike Ohlberg
Oneworld, 2020, 432 pp

Hidden Hand applies the same take-no-prisoners approach as Hamilton’s 2018 book, Silent Invasion: China’s Influence in Australia. But it moves beyond Australia to expose Chinese influence operations in the United States and Europe. The Chinese might reasonably complain that a book like this overlooks their need to defend themselves against an onslaught of subversive Western culture and anti-China rhetoric. The trouble, as Hamilton and Ohlberg show, is that Chinese influence and Western influence work rather differently. Whereas Western cultural influence is largely open and works by attraction, Chinese efforts are often corrupting or coercive. Wall Street firms, British banks, American and European university deans, Hollywood movie producers, and other Westerners pursue relations with Chinese partners in an uncoordinated way, on the basis of their immediate interests. But Chinese institutions work in a coordinated fashion under the guidance of the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work and Propaganda Departments, with long-term influence in mind. This well-substantiated account will add to the growing sense that China, in attempting to tell its side of the story, has gone too far in using methods unacceptable to the West.