DTL statement in response to Georgian Dream Party MP statement regarding funding for Civic IDEA

Doublethink Lab

The article is one of many in Georgia-focused media suggesting that in receiving funding from Taiwanese organizations, including DTL, Civic IDEA undermined its impartiality and ability to conduct objective research into the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s relationship with Georgia.

In response, DTL would like to clarify our position and the nature of the relationship, which is limited to engagement around our flagship China Index project quantifying and visualizing PRC influence globally, and a one-off grant for related research.

DTL is devoted to strengthening democratic resilience and resisting digital authoritarianism globally, and as such we independently set and control the nature and direction of our research.

One aspect of DTL’s mission is to conduct research into PRC foreign influence and interference. For example, we are currently running a project to investigate Foreign Information Manipulation and Interference (FIMI) in the Indo-Pacific region. The project’s goal is to gather evidence on tactics, techniques, and procedures of FIMI, so that governments and civil society platforms can make informed decisions about the best way to handle the threats and challenges these pose.

Similarly, the China Index aims to provide data-driven insights on vectors of PRC influence, so that policymakers and CSOs can make evidence-based decisions about how to more sustainably manage their relationships with the PRC. The Index also enables stakeholders to compare the scale, nature and impact of PRC influence across regions and between countries, and provides a basis for more in-depth research.

Like many CSOs, we are an independent non-profit organization that sources funding from a diverse range of donors and sectors while taking vigorous steps to maintain the integrity and quality of our methodologies and research processes. This includes ensuring that our funders do not influence our choice of research partners, and choosing not to affiliate with governments or political parties.

Through the China Index, we have worked with more than 200 such individuals and institutions — RPs and their local experts involved in gathering data on PRC influence in their regions.

DTL initially selected Civic IDEA to be a China Index RP because of the outstanding quality of their work, and their expertise in studying foreign influence operations, principally those of Russia and the PRC, in the South Caucasus and Central Asia. For the forthcoming (second) iteration of the China Index, Civic IDEA again responded to the open call for RPs and was selected for similar reasons.

Civic IDEA’s anti-corruption research related to PRC companies’ activities in Georgia, particularly following the signing of a strategic partnership between the two countries in July 2023, is of critical importance to understanding the nature of PRC influence, and specifically funding allocation decisions made by Georgia’s current government and ruling party.

While DTL plays no part in funding this endeavor, we wish Civic IDEA and its partners every success in conducting their research, and continuing to advocate for stricter scrutiny and due diligence around the Georgian government’s dealings with PRC entities.

About Doublethink Lab

Established in 2019, Doublethink Lab (Doublethink) is a civil society organization devoted to strengthening democratic resilience and resisting digital authoritarianism. Doublethink’s strengths lie in the ability to combine a diverse set of research approaches in the social, behavioral, and computational sciences to study state-funded propaganda campaigns, psychological warfare, and related information operations. As coordinator of the China in the World (CITW) network, Doublethink seeks to foster cross-regional collaboration between academics, democracy movements, digital communities, like-minded CSOs, and experts on the People’s Republic of China. Its flagship project is the China Index.

About China In The World (CITW)

In 2019, Doublethink Lab and partners established the China In The World (CITW) network to support and unite stakeholders researching the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’s global influence, improve cross-regional awareness of related challenges, and strengthen democratic resilience worldwide. The network coordinates publication of the China Index, the first global initiative to measure and compare the PRC’s influence in various countries.

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