Communist China’s Espionage and Influence Operation in America Continues

Federal authorities on Monday charged a New York City police officer with being an agent of the Chinese Communist Party for the past six years. The indictment says handlers in the Chinese consulate had Officer Baimadajie Angwang, a naturalized U.S. citizen, keeping tabs on Tibetans living in New York.

Angwang was being run by the China Association for Preservation and Development of Tibetan Culture, part of the CCP United Front Work Department responsible for “neutralizing sources of potential opposition to the policies and authority” of the CCP, according to federal prosecutors.

The United Front Work Department is the CCP’s official overseas propaganda tool, one of the party’s “Magic Weapons” in the words of Chairman Mao. When the CCP seeks to “neutralize” opponents nothing is off the table, particularly when a neutralizer carries a gun.

Angwang was also a member of the U.S. Army Reserve with a “secret”-level security clearance. Did those vetting Angwang not know his father is retired from the People’s Liberation Army and a member of the Chinese Communist Party? Or that his mother is a retired government official and also a member of the CCP? Or that his brother serves as a reservist in the PLA, as prosecutors allege?

This not only shows the penetration of the CCP espionage operations, it raises serious questions about our government’s response. Perhaps the Justice Department should be devoting more resources to countering the China threat and fewer to diversity training and entrapping the president. 

It’s Not Only Espionage

China’s influence operations are equally pervasive. In 2018, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a Washington think tank, held a panel discussion titled “Chinese Influence Operations in the U.S.: Shedding Some Light on All the Heat.” Essentially, they argued that Americans have nothing to worry about. The think tank failed to disclose, however, that Wang Huiyao, one of its panelists scheduled to speak, was a member of the CCP’s United Front Work Department and the Party’s Central Committee.  

Then we have the CCP’s information warfare. 

Federal prosecutors last week charged five Chinese citizens linked to Chinese intelligence with hacking more than 100 companies in the United States and overseas, including social media firms, universities, and telecommunications providers.

Separately, an Australian cybersecurity company retrieved a database called the Overseas Key Information Database. It reveals the CCP has been collecting information on more than 2 million people, including at least 50,000 Americans and tens of thousands of people who hold prominent public positions including foreign political, military, and business figures. It also contains information on countries’ infrastructure, military deployments, and public opinion analysis. 

The CCP uses this information to build a profile of an industry, to identify who is likely to have access to intellectual property or decision makers, and where to find them. It enables them to buy influence with a sweetheart deal to make a businessman favorably disposed to China, or entrap someone in a compromising situation to set them up for extortion.

Perhaps it used such profiling when it gave Hunter Biden a $100,000 line of credit he and his family used for a luxury shopping spree. The CCP’s threatened blacklist of American technology firms is of a piece with its influence operations, as is its consideration of withholding the blacklist until after the election.

“Many in China are hoping to reset relations with the United States should Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden defeat Mr. Trump,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Mr. Biden has laid out plans to increase engagement with China over regional issues such as Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea. Mr. Biden would also likely engage China in dealing with climate change.”

Beijing is banking on tech firms eager to hold a piece of the China market to go all out for Biden.

The CCP clearly didn’t use such profiling when Wu Ting, the wife of China’s consul general in Chicago, emailed Wisconsin State Senate President Roger Roth in March asking him to submit a resolution praising the CCP’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, draft helpfully attached. 

After trashing the outrageous request, Roth led the passage of a different resolution that explicitly stated “the Communist Party of China deliberately and intentionally misled the world on the Wuhan Coronavirus.”

In April, Wu was at it again, emailing CCP propaganda to the district director of U.S. Representative Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), including this gem: “We are firmly opposed to racial discrimination and xenophobia against the local Chinese community and stigmatization of China and the Chinese people over the virus.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pulled no punches in describing what the CCP is up to. 

“The CCP thinks it can drown out American cries for accountability with shouts of racism.

It wants to foment the kind of strife we’ve seen in Minneapolis, and Portland, and Kenosha,” Pompeo told the Wisconsin State Senate.

Beyond Disinformation

Beijing’s attempts to foment racial strife may not end with rhetoric. Retired CIA officer Sam Faddis lays out the evidence showing how the CCP could well be funneling money to riot organizers.

Donations to a Black Lives Matter affiliate known as the Black Futures Lab are being funneled through an organization known as the Chinese Progressive Association.

The CPA was founded in 1972 and according to a Stanford University paper, “The CPA began as a Leftist, pro-People’s Republic of China organization, promoting awareness of mainland China’s revolutionary thought and workers’ rights, and dedicated to self-determination, community control, and ‘serving the people.’”

The CPA “worked with other pro-PRC groups within the U.S. and San Francisco Bay Area … Support for the PRC was based on the inspiration the members drew from what they saw as a successful grassroots model that presented a viable alternative to Western capitalism,” the paper says.

CPA is especially active in San Francisco. Russell Lowe, Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) office director who was outed as a Chinese spy, is a close associate of CPA’s former Vice-Chairman Eric Mar, Faddis reports.

The CPA has reliably toed—and peddled—the Chinese propaganda line. In 2017, the CPA joined with other pro-Beijing Bay Area groups to create the End National Security Scapegoating (ENSS) coalition. This organization was created in reaction to what it calls: 

pervasive efforts by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) that target and prosecute Chinese-American individuals for espionage-related crimes. . . .  Today’s wrongful espionage prosecutions against Asian Americans must also be viewed and challenged alongside the broader foundation of racism and discrimination that fuels such injustices.

Echoes of Wu Ting. The CCP is using cries of racism not only to deflect from its responsibility for the China virus but also to push back against our government’s long-overdue crackdown on Beijing’s espionage within our country. 

Further, as Faddis sums up, “there is every indication the CPA, the outfit funneling money to the people burning our cities, is a Chinese intelligence front organization, part of what is China’s well known worldwide ‘United Front’ apparatus.” 

When corporate media express “concern” over anti-Asian racism without noting that the CCP uses such charges in its propaganda and influence operations, we see yet again how deeply those operations have penetrated all institutions in our society.

About Curtis Ellis

Curtis Ellis is policy director with America First Policies. He was also a senior policy advisor with the Donald J. Trump presidential campaign in 2016.

Photo: Fu Kun/VCG via Getty Images

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