From US Government to Chinese Government Employee
“Nobody in the 1980s would have represented the Russian government. Now you find so many lobbying for the Chinese government.”Frank Wolfe, retired U.S. Representative from Virginia
During the Cold War with the USSR, it would have been unthinkable for an American to work for the Kremlin. Today, although a new Cold War is brewing and China is seen by US intelligence services and the military as the greatest threat. Americans, even former government employees and politicians have been directly employed by the Chinese government.
By flexing its economic might, China has been able to negotiate a new set of rules for itself in global organizations. Places such as the UN, WTO, and WHO where China’s violations and refusal to conform to international norms are ignored. For years, even the US securities exchanges allowed Chinese companies to skirt SEC requirements, ignoring audit and disclosure rules. This has even been the case in terms of national security.
With Americans being free to work for the Chinese government without any sort of permission or disclosure requirements, security is a nightmare. The Trump administration is cracking down on many of these relationships. Holes still exist, however, and the Communist Party of China is expert at exploiting them. As the Mandarins before them, they are good at the long game.
Americans Who Spied for China
The most blatant China government employees in the US are spies. Ones who accept money to betray their country. These are but a few examples of Americans who violated the public trust, but this is just the tip of the iceberg. These people broke the law and were arrested, while the actions of many others are equally as damaging, but generally not prosecutable.
Kevin Mallory a former member of the military, CIA, and Defense Intelligence Agency, sold secrets to the Chinese for $25,000. Former DIA officer, Ron Hansen, 59, fluent in both Mandarin and Russian, was paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in “consulting fees” by Chinese agents, for passing on US secrets. After leaving the CIA, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, moved to Hong Kong and started a business which was floundering, so he took up an offer from Chinese agents to pass on US secrets in exchange for cash. There are other less famous ones.
“China’s Communist Party has infiltrated various levels of America’s infrastructure and is working to destroy the values of the United States.” Warned US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. This includes state governors, mayors, city councils, government employees, and even school boards. China is infiltrating our government at all levels. And unlike the cases of actually hiring spies, these infiltrations are largely legal under current US laws.
Working for China
Charles Boustany, congressman from Louisiana, co-chaired the U.S.-China working group. He later worked as a lobbyist for China. Representing the US-China Transpacific Foundation (UCTF), based out of Las Vegas and sponsored by the Chinese government. Boustany actually registered as a foreign agent under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. His company, Capitol Counsel, brings delegations of U.S. members of Congress to China to “enhance their understanding on the cultural, economic, political, and social developments of the People’s Republic of China, thus helping strengthen U.S.-China relations.”
Former Speaker of the House John Boehner after retiring from the House, took a position lobbying for the Chinese embassy in Washington. He also helped lead the effort to grant most favored trading nation status to China in the late 1990s. Former representative from Nebraska, Jon Christenson, worked as a lobbyist for Chinese telecom company ZTE Corp. He left after the firm became the subject of an FBI investigation.
After retiring from government service, David Firestein worked at the East-West Institute, facilitating meetings between high-ranking political party leaders in the United States and China. In order to bring the Americans to China, East-West partnered with the China-US Exchange Foundation, which is closely linked to the United Front Work Department, the political-influence arm of the Chinese Communist Party. On some occasions, East-West also partnered with an organization known to be a front for the People’s Liberation Army’s political-intelligence agency. Firestein went on to become the director of the University of Texas at Austin’s China Public Policy Center.
The University of Texas was investigated by the FBI, because of suspected ties to the Wuhan Virology Institute. That is the secure bio lab in China, believed to be the origin of the coronavirus pandemic. The university is also being investigated for accepting gifts, grants and other funding from foreign governments, particularly China, all of which have to be properly disclosed.
Donald (Andy) Purdy Jr. a former cybersecurity strategist who worked for the White House and later for Department of Homeland Security, took a position as chief of security for Huawei. FBI and Trump administration oppose Huawei because of its close ties to the Chinese government, so a national security risk. The company claims to be employee-owned. The shares which employees receive are non-transferable and non-portable, meaning they are really just profit sharing. Ninety-nine percent of the shares are owned by a trade union association. As all trade unions in China are government, this means that Huawei is state-owned.
Furthering the Objectives of the Communist Party
A former president of the World Bank Group, James D. Wolfensohn, has served as a member of the international advisory committee for the Chinese government’s sovereign wealth fund, China Investment Corporation (CIC). China has invested $20 billion in over 600 US technology companies. CIC has focused much of its investment on Silicon Valley. The Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy has called this a threat to the US economic and national security. There is no law that says that US citizens, even former government employees, cannot work for a Chinese company. China’s legal system complicates these employment relationships. It makes even the most innocuous job at a Chinese company an agent of the Communist Party of China.
China’s Cyber Security Law and National Intelligence law require all Chinese companies and individuals to aid the Chinese government in intelligence gathering. Furthermore, they are obliged to hand over all data. Customer data, user data, propriety data, IP, essentially any files at a company, all have to be handed over to the CCP upon request. This law extends to data held by Chinese companies abroad. This was one of the reasons why the Trump administration opposed Huawei. They also blocked the purchase of MoneyGram by Alibaba Group. MoneyGram held data on hundreds of millions of US citizens who had used their services.
There were concerns that even if the data was stored in the US, the company would be required to turn the data over to the Chinese government. Under current US law, it is illegal for an American to spy for China. It is not illegal, however, for a former US employee to accept money from China for US citizen data and other secrets to the Communist Party. Convenient how that works.
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