March 10, 2012:
China has been more aggressively using lobbying and economic clout to suppress criticism of China in the West. At the same time China encourages foreign academics, journalists, and government officials to give favorable treatment of the communist dictatorship in China by using cash, favors, and threats. While many foreigners rebuff the Chinese many do not, and China keeps at it. The only aspect of this most people are aware of are several Hollywood movies that were changed, late in their production, to eliminate elements that could be seen as critical of China or the Chinese government.
China does all this by maintaining some control over any company (local or foreign) operating in China. In addition, China is one of the major exporters and importers on the planet. That gives China enormous economic, and political, clout all over the planet. China also gives away a lot of money, not just as foreign aid but also as "research grants" to universities. All this stuff comes with diplomatic strings. China is not reluctant to pull the strings to get what it wants.
The impact of all this comes as a big shock to Chinese who flee China to avoid prosecution for their criticism of the government. These refugees find that the Chinese government can successfully bully Western universities and research institutes to not employ these critics or even allow them to speak at Western campuses. There is often some push-back, but the Chinese have found that being bold with their pressure tactics often pays off.