The Chinese Communist Party of China (CCP) and Brazil’s Workers Party (PT) have committed to deepen ties of friendship and strengthen cooperation. The agreement came to be during A CCP delegation’s visit to Brazil in September 2023, during which time both parties pledged to “uphold the principles of independence and self-determination, full equality, mutual respect, and non-interference in international affairs.”
The agreement plans for the CCP and the PT to exchange experiences concerning schools, communications, think tanks, and on topics related to regional and international issues, among others, as well as provide each other with mutual support.
The rapprochement between the CCP and the PT, however, has experts concerned about the potential risks involved. According to Paulo Kramer, a political scientist and professor at the University of Brasilia, the closer relationship between the CCP and the PT could threaten Brazil’s national sovereignty, including risks of Chinese interference in the country’s internal affairs, as the CCP is responsible for the authoritarian regime in China.
“We know that China has successfully implemented electronic totalitarianism, with a firewall capable of quickly taking down all messages circulating on the internet that are contrary and/or critical of the regime,” Kramer told Diálogo, about one of his concerns. “It is also very advanced in the field of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technologies, which obviously favor state control and represent an affront to individual freedoms and civil rights. So we have to be very careful about the kind of technology that is being imported from there, for the purposes of controlling society.”
Kramer also emphasized that cooperation can weaken information security and compromise the secrecy of commercial, strategic, or even sensitive information for Brazil.
“Chinese companies are mandated by law to pass on all information relating to contracts, patents, and partnerships with companies abroad. So this gives the CCP a control power over the economy, not only over its own country, but also over the other countries with which China maintains a permanent exchange of trade, investments, etc.,” the expert said.
For Marcelo Suano, a political scientist and project director of Brazilian think tank Center for Strategy, Intelligence, and International Relations, the agreement between both parties is “a bit strange,” he told Brazilian daily Gazeta do Povo. According to Suano, the collaboration could extend to strategic information, such as intelligence.
“There is of direct interference by China in the country […]. The possibility of exchanging strategic information is very great”. There is a risk of direct interference by China in the country […], Suano told Gazeta do Povo. “It’s one thing to have training or some intelligence discussions, but to have exchanges of information and joint work is an aberration […].”
On the other hand, political scientist Gabriel Jubran Miranda who also spoke to Diálogo about the agreement between the PT and the CCP called for patience. In his opinion, any effects from the signing of the agreement should be seen in the coming months. “We have to wait for the practical consequences of the measure, since politics involve a symbolic aspect of relations between parties and institutions […],” Miranda said. “So it’s best to wait and see if this rapprochement will be positive or negative for the country.”
Some 40 people from the CCP were part of the visiting delegation, which included a meeting with Brazil’s President Luis Inácio Lula da Silva. The Brazilian president received the members of the Chinese government at the Planalto Palace to discuss partnerships in infrastructure, energy generation, and industrial investment.