Wednesday, August 22, 2018

China Ratchets Up Its U.S. Spying Programs

By Michael Cutler

Russian efforts to corrupt American politics captivates the media, but they pay scant attention to the aggressive actions of the Chinese.  This under-reporting is concerning,  given the concerted Chinese efforts go well beyond the hacking of U.S. computers - an illegal activity of great concern - but they also extend onto the campuses of our universities.

There are, however, occasional acts of real reporting on Chinese espionage. One example comes from, the usually liberal and globalist publication, Newsweek back on May 20, 2015,  A New Cold War, Yes. But It’s With China, Not Russia

Another story worthy of mention is this from the Houston Chronicle reported on August 8, 2018, which reported: FBI warns Texas academic and medical leaders of ‘classified’ security threats.

The piece led off with this ominous excerpt:

In an unprecedented gathering, FBI officials warned top leaders of Texas academic and medical institutions Wednesday about security threats from foreign adversaries, the first step in a new initiative the bureau plans to replicate around the country.

Then went on to note:

The meeting reflects the bureau’s increasing concern, made in public comments and before congressional committees, about cybersecurity threats posed by adversaries such as China, Russia, and Iran. Following a 2017 report that found intellectual-property theft by China costs the U.S. as much as $600 billion annually, FBI Director Christopher Wray this June called China "the broadest, most significant" threat to the United States and said its espionage is active in all 50 states.

Then, on February 18, 2018, the Washington Post published an Op-EdWaking up to China’s infiltration of American colleges, which reported:

China’s massive foreign influence campaign in the United States takes a long view, sowing seeds in American institutions meant to blossom over years or even decades. That’s why the problem of Chinese financial infusions into U.S. higher education is so difficult to grasp and so crucial to combat.​

At last, the community of U.S. officials, lawmakers and academics focused on resisting Chinese efforts to subvert free societies is beginning to respond to Beijing’s presence on America’s campuses. One part of that is compelling public and private universities to reconsider hosting Confucius Institutes, the Chinese government-sponsored outposts of culture and language training.

I have also reported on America's China problem in my article Educating America's Adversaries, where I highlighted the ways foreign citizens were pumping America’s colleges full of  STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) students.  My article cited a 2017 DHS report that showed that 152,000 Chinese students had enrolled in the STEM courses of study (second only to the more than 173,000 students from India who had also enrolled in STEM courses of study).

The totalitarian Chinese government clearly seeks to retain control over their citizen/students as reported on March 7, 2018 in the Foreign Policy Magazine article, China's Long Arm Reaches Into American Campuses and concisely articulated in the article’s subtitle, Beijing is stepping up efforts to inject party ideology into student life. Some Chinese students are crying foul.

This excerpt from this article lays out how the Chinese government can “reach into American campuses:

While many countries, including the United States, fund educational activities abroad, the Chinese government’s direct support for, and control over, student groups appears to be unique. Beijing’s influence over these groups is also beginning to raise questions and concerns among students on American campuses, who fear they will be accused of being agents of espionage. The growing ties are also concerning U.S. government officials, who are wary of China’s political and economic reach in the United States.

FBI Director Christopher Wray recently claimed that American universities are naive about the intelligence risk of Chinese “nontraditional collectors, especially in the academic setting,” and claimed that China poses a “whole-of-society threat.”​

Those comments have alarmed some Chinese students. Several Georgetown University student representatives wrote an open letter to the university president, asking the school to disavow Wray’s statements and calling the comments a “witch-hunt” and a “McCarthyist craze.” The article also cited FP’s recent reports revealing that the Georgetown CSSA has received Chinese government funding.

A recent Federalist Magazine article, It’s Not Sci-Fi: China Is Developing Tech That Can Mold U.S. Kids’ Minds included a truly disturbing subtitle, Chinese companies are buying up U.S. companies that store mammoth personal data on American children and adults.

On August 13, 2018, the Washington Free Beacon reported Mexican Radio to Beam Chinese Propaganda.  The article focused on the purchase of a powerful Mexican radio station located near Tijuana, Mexico by a Chinese-controlled media outlet that will begin bombarding Southern California with Chinese language propaganda.  The apparent intended target of this effort are Chinese Americans living in Southern California.

This disconcerting news report contained these revelations:

A large Spanish-language radio station in Mexico will soon begin broadcasting in Chinese in a deal critics say will bring Beijing propaganda to Chinese Americans throughout Southern California.​

A Federal Communications Commission filing on the sale of radio station XEWW AM 690 radio near Tijuana reveals the buyer has ties to Phoenix Satellite Television US, a subsidiary of Hong Kong's pro-Beijing Phoenix TV.​

According to government sources, signs that Phoenix is involved in the purchase of the radio station prompted the Trump administration last week to begin an investigation into the national security implications of the sale.​

Phoenix TV has been identified by U.S. intelligence agencies as a major overseas outlet used to spread propaganda and promote the policies of the communist government in Beijing. The Hong Kong television station also has close ties to China's intelligence service and military.

In my recent article, Fears About Chinese "Trade War" Are Late And Dumb, I discussed the nexus between immigration status and Chinese espionage in the United States.  With all of the focus on the harm done to the country by illegal immigration, we must not lose sight of how all aspects of the immigration crisis must be conducted to prevent the entry, by any means, of aliens into the United States, creates vulnerabilities that our adversaries will exploit.

On August 1, 2018, the Times Union reported, GE engineer charged with stealing turbine technology. That engineer, Xiaoqing Zheng, was identified as holding both U.S. and Chinese citizenship and is likely a naturalized U.S. citizen.

I have frequently noted that U.S. citizenship provides the “Keys to the Kingdom.”  When those “keys” are placed in the hands of “burglars,” our nation suffers.

Therefore it is encouraging that the Trump administration is trying to strengthen the naturalization process.  This change was the theme of my recent article, Trump Administration Opens Office To Find Naturalization Fraud, which I described as a “great first step but that much more needs to be done.”

This is not to say that the United States should not permit aliens to enter.  it is vital for America to have robust commerce and tourism-related industries for various reasons.

However, remember that shortly after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, our leaders continually warned us that to be successful, terrorists needed to only “get it right” once, while our law enforcement and intelligence agencies need to “get it right” 100% of the time. 

The flow of aliens into the United States, by any means, provides our enemies with plenty of opportunities for that "one right chance" they desperately seek.  Similarly, every alien is granted lawful status, citizenship or any other immigration benefit also provides enemies with that "one right chance" to harm America.

Our leaders must scrutinize foreign nationals entering this country as a savvy shopkeeper would watch over his own property and customers.

Without those customers, he/she may go out of business. However, every customer may also be a shoplifter.  The last thing a shopkeeper wants is a customer who is intent on purchasing without paying for the merchandise.  This is called stealing.

Chinese espionage is so prevalent that some have sarcastically labeled the threat “Chinese Takeout.”

Meanwhile, inexplicably, China continues to enjoy the status of America's “Most Favored Nation Trade Status.”

But President Trump is pushing back, in meaningful ways, against multi-faceted Chinese aggression against the United States. All American politicians need to quickly get on the same page - irrespective of their own political party affiliation.