Intelligence: China Applies Muscle in America


July 10, 2007: China is becoming increasingly aggressive in trying to shut down anti-government activities overseas. Nothing official, of course, but the evidence is piling up. Some of the operations are violent, like attacks on Falungong information activities. The Falungong is a religious movement that has become the target of Chinese anger. The Falungong made the mistake of demonstrating against government attempts to control it. You can only practice religion in China if you accept some government control (to make sure no believers or clergy do or say anything that can be interpreted as anti-government). The Falungong has made the Chinese leadership furious via overseas demonstrations and information operations. For example, Falungong publishes, in the U.S., a free newspaper, the Epoch Times, which is full of news on the world, China, and the struggle between the Chinese government and the Falungong. In the past year, many copies of the Epoch Times have been stolen and destroyed, and editorial staff have been physically attacked by men who appear to be Chinese. Editorial offices have also been attacked, often at night, to make it look like a burglary.

China has also been putting pressure on Chinese language newspapers in the U.S. to publish more pro Chinese government material. This often involves threats by people, it turns out, who are working for, or sponsored by, Chinese embassy staff. The same routine has been applied to Chinese student associations at American universities. Most of the ethnic Chinese students in American universities are from mainland China, and it's not difficult for the government to pressure these students to become active in making sure the anti-Chinese government activities or opinions on campus are opposed.

In a manner similar to Chinese espionage efforts, Chinese students are encouraged to gather seemingly innocuous data for the Chinese government. For example, who has been saying anti-Chinese government things on campus? Which Americans, especially Chinese-Americans appear most likely to support the Chinese government?

While China has been doing a lot of this information gathering for decades, the widespread use of force is something new. In the United States, the FBI is investigating the pattern of harassment and violence. The FBI is also heavily into trying to control Chinese espionage efforts, and apparently believes the Chinese activities against some media and campus organizations, is all being run by the same people in Chinese intelligence. But at the moment, FBI resources are limited because of the higher priority demands of the war against Islamic terrorism.




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close