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Chinese have very sustained, persistent campaign to change policies affecting them: US

PTI Wash
Updated: 02-11-2018 23:11 IST

The Trump administration on Friday accused China of trying to influence Americans ahead of the November 6 midterm polls.

"The Chinese have a very sustained, persistent campaign through foreign influence techniques to change the way in which Americans think about China and particularly to change our policies with respect to China," US Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen told a Washington audience.

"We see that in a lot of ways. We see that through news, but we also see that through the purchase of businesses. We see that through the co-opting of officials throughout the world. We've seen them very active in investment schemes in different parts of the world where then that country's beholden for decades of debt," she said at the Council on Foreign Relations, a top American think-tank.

So there's a "very prolonged" attempt by China in this regard, she said.

"What I would say the difference between the Chinese and the Russians, the Russians are much more brazen. They're much noisier about this. They want to affect something here and now to disrupt American democracy and to give them an edge. The Chinese are playing a long game. They're in this for the long haul," Nielsen said.

However, Nielsen said that unlike Russia, the US has not seen any direct effort by the Chinese to interfere in American elections, but it is through their campaign to influence the policy making.

"We just met with our Five Eyes partners in Australia a couple months ago. The conversation we have here about Russia, they have about China. They're very concerned about China doing what Russia did in our 2016 election in their election," she said.

"So again, China has the will. They have the capability. We haven't seen it on election infrastructure, but we have seen a very wide-ranging campaign very much targeted at the United States," the secretary said.

On the other hand, she acknowledged that Russians probably attempted in 2016 to gain access to voting systems in all 50 states.

The Trump administration, she said, has launched a massive effort to prevent any outside influence in the elections. "We want to make sure that everyone's vote is counted, but is also counted correctly," she said.

"There were concerns that proved unfounded, but as we see throughout the rest of the world with some of the attempts to hack the election infrastructure, there's also concern about the integrity. So we want every vote to count, we want it counted correctly," Nielsen said.

"So as of today, we don't have any indication that a foreign government has a sustained effort or a sustained plan to hack our election infrastructure. But having said that, the moment it changes, we, of course, will let our state and local partners know," she said.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)