The lamest Trojan horse: Chinese students in the West

If China truly aims to orchestrate an influence campaign, it will have to step up its game

In February 2012, when I was an undergraduate at the University of Iowa, Mr Xi Jinping, the vice-president of China at the time and now president, paid a visit to Muscatine, a small town where he'd briefly stayed while on a research trip in 1985.

Muscatine is an hour's drive from Iowa City, and my university's Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) invited a few dozen Chinese students along to welcome Mr Xi. I didn't attend, but my friend Vivian went, thrilled at the thought of meeting a high-ranking Chinese official and excited about spending a few hours outside our small college town.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2019, with the headline 'The lamest Trojan horse: Chinese students in the West'. Print Edition | Subscribe