Chinese support to protests The Statesman 28 May 2024 Maj Gen Harsha Kakar


Chinese support to protests?

Chinese support to protests? The Statesman 28 May 2024

          The US based Network Contagion Research Institute (NCRI), recently published a report on illegal funding of ongoing anti-Israel protests in US universities. The report titled, ‘How CCP (Chinese Communist Party) influence and radical ideologies threaten critical infrastructure and campuses across the US,’ implied a Chinese hand behind these protests. These are organized under the banner of ‘Shut it down for Palestine (SID4P).’

They commenced with demonstrations in support of Gaza in Times Square four days after the 07 Oct attacks, well before Israel launched its assault, which commenced on 27th Oct. Convenors include seven organizations including few pro-Palestine activist organizations, whose antecedents are well established. In early Nov, SID4P officially registered its domain ‘’

Three of the listed convenor organizations are part of a network linked by ‘close financial, interpersonal, and ideological ties to Neville Roy Singham and his wife Jodie Evans.’ The couple, currently based in Shanghai, are known to have close ties with CCP’s propaganda departments. Singham is also being investigated in India for similar activities.

          As per the NCRI report, ‘The Singham Network comprises a wide range of nonprofit alternative media outlets and donor organizations that have been funneling undisclosed funds and disseminating CCP-supported agendas and narratives.’ The report mentions eight media houses, linked to the network, pushing Chinese narratives in the US.  

In India, Singham is accused of funding NewsClick, which was vigorously promoting a pro-China narrative based on his directions.

One of US’s networks, BT media, had published YouTubes, titled, ‘How China will win: capitalism inherently collapses, China’s rise, and Xi Aims for Common Prosperity.’ Post 07 Oct, these networks began pushing pro-Palestine, pro-Hezbollah narratives. Their intention was to positively project anti-Israel groups, Hamas and Hezbollah.  

There were reports of ‘outsiders’ participating and guiding US protests. India Today, in an article of early May, quoted a City University of New York (CUNY) official mentioning, ‘only five of the 31 people arrested were affiliated with CUNY as students or staffers, and at least 10 didn’t even live in New York.’

Another report stated that majority of the 300 arrested in Hamilton Hall of Columbia University were professional agitators, not students. Similar inputs emerged from other institutions in the US, Canada as also Europe.

Jewish publication, ‘Tablet,’ states that ‘shortly before masked assailants stormed Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall and barricaded themselves inside, People’s Forum—a Manhattan event space affiliated with the Party for Socialism and Liberation, funded by Neville Roy Singham—urged its activists to rush up to Columbia to support our students.’

In India, outsiders were involved in inciting violence in multiple protests. Thus, peaceful CAA/NRC protests turned violent and on occasions even resulted in clashes between religious groups resulting in police firing and casualties.

Neville Singham has been summoned for questioning by the Delhi police special squad investigating the NewsClick case, however refuses to respond. NewsClick is alleged to have received large sums through offshore companies established by Singham to propagate Chinese propaganda in India. Investigative inputs mention that it received approximately Rs 92 crores between 2018 and 2023.

A New York Times investigation of last year commented that Neville has been behind promoting Chinese government agenda in many nations, including India. India Today quotes their report, ‘Hundreds of millions of dollars in donations have been traced to groups linked to him that mix progressive advocacy with Chinese government talking points.’

Neville, making his fortune in software, sold his company but continued dabbling in radical politics. His partner, Jason Pfetcher, and wife, Jodie Evans, have similar leanings. Though he denies, but intelligence inputs confirm his close links to CCP’s propaganda machinery.   

Once his case came into limelight, Singham published a rebuttal against both, the New York Times investigation and FIR lodged by the ED against him for money laundering in The Hindu, in Oct last year. In his rebuttal he claimed innocence while rubbishing all allegations.

What further came to light in the Indian investigation were email exchanges between Prabir Purkayastha, founder and editor-in-chief of NewsClick, and Neville Singham. These emails cover subjects like defending China’s position on COVID, supporting farmers protests, promoting Chinese interests and justifying its border clashes with India.

The Delhi police mentioned in a local court hearing recently that NewsClick was also involved in funding the 2020 Delhi riots, the CAA/NRC protests, Naxal movement and the farmers’ protest. The police traced Rs 36 Lakhs which were expended for fueling Delhi riots.

A Kashmir cell was also created by NewsClick to re-ignite violence in the valley. Evidently, Neville Singham gave directions on where funds were to be expended, implying indirect involvement of China.

The Delhi police further claim that NewsClick was peddling Chinese thoughts ‘apparently at the behest of Neville’s paymasters who, at this stage, by way of deduction, can be referred to as being either China-sponsored or part of the Chinese Deep State.’

Criticism on the government’s actions against NewsClick flowed from media houses and political parties. These included accusing the government on cracking down on the press, ignoring Chinese funding and the role of Neville.

While the court case against NewsClick is ongoing, the investigation report by NCRI indicates that China is indirectly involved in building unrest in nations it considers as its adversaries, which India and the US definitely are. There is a need to consider if apart from Singham, there are other channels also being exploited by China.

The SID4P have impacted vote banks compelling Biden to adopt a cautious path.  This interference by China could have been discussed by the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, during his recent visit to Beijing, which, of course, would have been denied by the Chinese.

In a diverse nation like India, creating unrest would be far easier. In India, social media influencers and global media networks are busy projecting the ruling dispensation in poor light while commenting on Indian democratic sliding as elections remain underway. They appear to warn the public against voting for them. Their impact may not be much as most issues being debated are internal.

Evidently someone has to be funding them. China, which has been backing insurgency movements in the North East, will definitely attempt to fund unrest through sources like Neville Singham and others, unless investigative agencies shut them down.         


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *