Hidden Reach

Hidden Reach is a CSIS special initiative that shines light on under-appreciated sources of China's far-reaching influence through open-source data and satellite imagery.

China is increasingly a global power. Its overseas interests are vast and complex, spanning every region of the world. In many places, Beijing is leveraging new sources of strength to assert its influence. Yet key elements of its far-reaching footprint remain poorly understood.

Using satellite imagery and open-source data analysis, Hidden Reach illuminates new details in the story of China’s expanding international influence, focusing on areas left out in Beijing’s official narrative.

Presented through interactive digital reports and other multimedia content, our work seeks to cut through noise and jargon to help policymakers, academics, and the interested public gain a nuanced understanding of China’s global rise.

Contact Information

Digital Reports


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A Chinese research vessel sails through the ocean.

Gab K. De Jesus for CSIS

Skirting the Shores: China’s New High-Tech Research Ship Probes the Waters around Taiwan

In late 2023, an advanced Chinese research vessel known as the Zhu Hai Yun circumnavigated Taiwan in a rare move that appears intended to challenge Taiwan and probe the environment around the island. This Hidden Reach Snapshot reveals the vessel’s ties to China’s military.

Digital Report by Matthew P. Funaiole, Aidan Powers-Riggs, and Brian Hart — February 26, 2024

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A satellite view of the Bay of Bengal coastline

Submarine Diplomacy

Digital Report by Matthew P. Funaiole, Brian Hart, Aidan Powers-Riggs, and Jennifer Jun — November 17, 2023

Contributing Experts and Staff


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Matthew P. Funaiole
Vice President, iDeas Lab, Andreas C. Dracopoulos Chair in Innovation and Senior Fellow, China Power Project
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Jennifer Jun
Project Manager and Research Associate (Imagery Analysis), iDeas Lab and Korea Chair
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Lily McElwee
Deputy Director and Fellow, Freeman Chair in China Studies

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