The new party plan NL is based on organizations affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party |  RTL News

The new party plan NL is based on organizations affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party | RTL News

A Dutch party is participating in the European elections next Thursday, and it is more pro-China than it pretends. This is evidenced by research conducted by RTL News and Follow The Money. NL Plan has close ties to organizations that support the Chinese Communist Party. Party representatives hold strong pro-China views, but express them only in Chinese media.

At first glance, there’s not much to see about NL’s plan. In this way, the party makes social housing and poverty alleviation the spearhead. But beneath the surface, Plan NL is no ordinary party. NL Plan has strong relationships with individuals and organizations that are part of the Chinese Communist Party’s international influence network, known as the United Front.

Thousands of euros from pro-Beijing groups

NL Plan has received thousands of euros in financial support from organizations committed to Beijing’s political goals and suppression of dissenting voices. This is evidenced by documents that can be found in Chinese-language media and statements by senior figures within the Chinese party and network.

NL Plan received a total of €42,000 in donations, a large portion of which came from organizations in the United Front Network.

Direct line to Beijing

The list of donors includes the Chinese Council for Peaceful National Reunification in the Netherlands. This sets off alarm bells for many experts.

This organization has branches in many countries and is affiliated everywhere with the Chinese parent organization. Andrew Chubb, a China researcher at Lancaster University, says it is directly run by the Communist Party. He talks about the “relationship of political power.”

“In my opinion, this is clearly going too far, or at least it appears to be [van buitenlandse inmenging, red.] “, says professor of modern China studies Frank Beck. According to him, the Dutch branch also has “clear and direct ties” with the Chinese parent organization.

The party remains silent in all languages ​​when asked by RTL Nieuws and Follow the Money about these financial flows. The Chinese organization also does not answer questions.

The list of donors includes dozens of organizations, including prominent pro-Beijing clubs such as the National Federation of Chinese Organizations in the Netherlands (LFCON) and the Netherlands-China Chamber of Commerce. Chinese-language newspapers in the Netherlands, such as the United Times and China Times, also transferred money.

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All of this also translates into party positions. Although China is not mentioned in the Dutch campaign videos, this is the most important topic in the Dutch’s communication with the Chinese.

“Honest words”

In a Chinese-language article published by the United Times, this was presented as a spearhead for the party: “First, the Dutch Netherlands Plan opposes the persecution of China by the European Union, the United States and Western countries,” the newspaper wrote.

And: “The Dutch political party NL Plan is the only political party that (…) speaks ‘true words’ to China.” Plan NL leader Kuen Chan and the party do not want to give any explanation on this matter.

You don’t hear anything about China in the NL Plan’s promotional videos.

Make China stronger

A prominent party member expresses the pro-China stance more sharply. “It doesn’t matter whether you are inside or outside China, we should all exert our energy to make our motherland stronger,” Dong Lili said during a trip to Belgium to commemorate Europe’s first communists.

Dong heads the National Federation of Chinese Youth Associations, an organization that has close ties to the Chinese embassy and is part of the influence network. She was in seventh place on the list of candidates for the House of Representatives elections last year, and still has a close relationship with the party.

United Front

The Chinese government attempts to influence Chinese communities living abroad through a network of organizations around the world. The goal is to ensure that Beijing’s interests and priorities are supported and promoted abroad.

Important players in this network are often Chinese student or entrepreneurial organizations and institutions. These focus on the interests of different ethnic groups within Chinese society. The organizations are not only obligated to represent the interests of their members, but are also used to monitor, influence and intimidate Dutch Chinese, the institute noted in a recent report.

“Chinese national and local governments are creating an interlocking set of organizations abroad,” explains Sens Hofstede. “The goal is to ensure that there is no room for other voices. At the same time, this interlocking also serves as a cover for professional operations.” Chinese researcher at the Clingendael Institute, from.

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“Such organizations sponsor a Dutch party because it fits into China’s policy of encouraging pro-Beijing figures to be active in foreign policy.”

The close ties between NL Plan and the Chinese influence network have been evident since the launch of the election campaign for the House of Representatives at the end of last year.

Close relations with China

A campaign meeting was also organized by the National Federation of Chinese Organizations in the Netherlands. LFCON is the first and official point of contact of the Chinese authorities for the Chinese community in the Netherlands. Without exception, the organization’s leaders have close ties to the powerful Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, a central organization within China’s united front.

A former president himself wrote: “I have participated several times in advanced training courses for overseas Chinese leaders, carefully organized by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office.” This is the international branch of the United Front.

During the meeting, one LFCON director did not address the organization’s involvement in the NL Plan: “We worked together to send Kwok Kuen Chan and his NL Plan party to the House of Representatives, so that the Chinese could have a representative in the House of Representatives.” representative.”

LFCON and NL Plan do not want to say anything about the relations between the two organizations and ignore all questions on this topic.

China Promotion Foundation

Chan, born in Amsterdam to Chinese parents, previously worked at the Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment, and later began working as a businessman before turning to politics.

In 2015, Chan founded the BOC Foundation. An organization with a clear goal: “Holding events and meetings to promote China and its products in the Netherlands and attract more attention.”

This basis for promoting China is not separate from the Party. The NL Plan website displays the BOC Foundation Account Number, not the NL Plan Party Account Number. How closely these two organizations relate to each other is lost in the shadow play. NL Plan also refuses to say anything about this.

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Society is under control

Hofstede points out that the motivations of people in an influence network can also be more personal: a sincere belief, business interests, or a way to show society (and the Communist Party) that you are interested in expressing the Chinese position, without the need to apply direct pressure.

“It is the product of an interweaving of organizations that keeps society in check,” Hofstede said. “Ultimately, it is the Chinese Communist Party that keeps societal life in line.”

Weaknesses in the system

Constitutional law professor Wim Voormans is also concerned about the gray area in which upstart parties could find themselves. As long as they are not receiving a subsidy, there are actually no rules for donations.

“It’s a weakness in the system. We have a big rule-free zone that allows new parties to influence in all kinds of ways, without it being visible.”

The chance of the NL plan reaching the European Parliament is slim. NL Plan has no seat on any of the ballots. During the previous parliamentary elections, Plan NL also failed to get enough votes to gain a seat.

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Party leader Kwok Kuen Chan refuses to cooperate in an interview with RTL News and Follow the Money. In a brief response, he said he was “surprised” by the questions. “Unfortunately, we are currently fully booked due to the campaign period.” Chan and NL Plan were given several weeks to respond.

LFCON and the Chinese Council for Peaceful National Reunification in the Netherlands did not respond to repeated requests for clarification.

Dong Lili does not respond substantively to questions regarding her views and relations with the United Front. In a brief phone conversation, despite being a former MP candidate and still closely involved with Plan NL, she said she was “not interested” in politics.

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