In a vast and detailed report, the Strategic Research Institute of France's renowned Military College (Irsem) describes how "Machiavellic" China has built a tentacular network to exert its influence worldwide. The 650-page report, entitled "Chinese influence operations - a Machiavelli moment" digs through the layers of secret and not-so-secret institutions, actions and designs used by Beijing to manipulate western opinion.
Written by Paul Cheron, an intelligence expert and Chinese specialist with credentials from Harvard and China's most prestigeous university Qinghua, in partnership with political scientist Jean-Baptiste Jeangène Vilmer, a security specialist, the report is probably the most extensive analysis of China's propaganda machine ever published in French.
The report argues that for a long time China wanted more to be loved than feared, she wanted to seduce, projecting a positive image of herself in the world and so arousing admiration. Recently China has increasingly shown another side.