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China wages hybrid war against India

A report by The Indian Express has confirmed, if any confirmation was needed, that China and the ruling Chinese Communist Party have been waging a no-holds-barred war against India.

“Calling itself a pioneer in using big data for ‘hybrid warfare’ and the ‘great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,’ a Shenzen-based technology company with links to the Chinese government, and the Chinese Communist Party, is monitoring over 10,000 Indian individuals and organizations in its global database of ‘foreign targets’,” says the report (https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/hybrid-warfare-pm-modi-cds-gen-rawat-zhenhua-data-information-artificial-intelligence-china-is-watching-6594884/).

Zhenhua Data Information Technology Co. Limited “monitors the subject’s digital footprint across social media platforms, maintains an ‘information library,’ which includes content not just from news sources, forums, but also from papers, patents, bidding documents, even positions of recruitment. Significantly, it builds a ‘relational database,’ which records and describes associations between individuals, institutions, and information. Collecting such massive data and weaving in public or sentiment analysis around these targets, Zhenhua offers ‘threat intelligence services’,” the IE report said.

“It is not data per se but the range and the use to which it may be put to that raises red flags. So Zhenhua’s 24 x7 watch collects personal information on the target from all social media accounts; keeps track of the target’s friends and relationships; analyses posts, likes and comments by friends and followers; collects even private information about movements such as geographic location through Artificial Intelligence tools,” the report said.

Zhenhua reportedly targeted President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi and their families; Chief Ministers Mamata Banerjee, Ashok Gehlot and Amarinder Singh to Uddhav Thackeray, Naveen Patnaik and Shivraj Singh Chouhan; Cabinet Ministers Rajnath Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Nirmala Sitharaman, Smriti Irani, and Piyush Goyal; Chief of Defence Staff Bipin Singh Rawat and 15 former chiefs of the Army, Navy and Air Force; Chief Justice of India Sharad Bobde and brother judge A.M. Khanwilkar; Lokpal Justice P.C. Ghose; Comptroller & Auditor General G.C. Murmu; tycoons Ratan Tata and Gautam Adani, and start-up tech entrepreneurs Nipun Mehra and Ajay Trehan.

British philosopher Francis Bacon (1561-1626) said, “Knowledge is power.” Doing away with the Aristotlean methods of obtaining knowledge, he helped develop the scientific method that had a huge influence on the scientific revolution which later resulted in the Age of Enlightenment, the period of intellectual efflorescence in the 18th century when the noble ideas of liberty, equality, and rationality got crystallized.

Bacon wrote about “three species and degrees of ambition. First, that of men who are anxious to enlarge their own power in their country, which is a vulgar and degenerate kind; next, that of men who strive to enlarge the power and empire of their country over mankind, which is more dignified but not less covetous; but if one were to endeavor to renew and enlarge the power and empire of mankind in general over the universe, such ambition (if it may be so termed) is both more sound and more noble than the other two. Now the empire of man over things is founded on the arts and sciences alone, for nature is only to be commanded by obeying her.”

That was then. Today, information is power; to be precise, it is made power by processing, using latest innovations in Artificial Intelligence and, of course, stealth and prurience. The Chinese certainly have no ambition “to renew and enlarge the power and empire of mankind in general over the universe”; the only thing they are interested in is a global Sinic empire, in which the ethnic Han would be the master race and the rest slaves.

Every bit of information helps in prosecuting the hybrid war. This is the reason that not just Narendra Modi but also his wife Jashodaben who was tracked by Zhenhua. As also were President Kovind’s wife Savita, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and his family, Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul and daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Smriti Irani and her husband Zubin Irani, Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur and her family, Akhilesh Yadav and his family.

Beside top politicians and bureaucrats, the Chinese firm also monitored prominent journalists, sportsperson, artists, religious leaders, and so on. Those who were on Zhenhua’s comprise India’s who’s who.

‘Hybrid warfare’ seems to be a synonym of ‘unrestricted warfare,’ about which we have written on a number of occasions. In a 1999 book, Unrestricted Warfare, two People’s Liberation Army colonels Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui argued that China should not fight a stronger enemy like the US with conventional military means; so, it should take recourse to non-military means.

The two colonels went on to describe the “means and methods used to fight a non-military war, some of which already exist and some of which may exist in the future. Such means and methods include psychological warfare (spreading rumors to intimidate the enemy and break down his will); smuggling warfare (throwing markets into confusion and attacking economic order); media warfare (manipulating what people see and hear in order to lead public opinion along); drug warfare (obtaining sudden and huge illicit profits by spreading disaster in other countries); network warfare (venturing out in secret and concealing one’s identity in a type of warfare that is virtually impossible to guard against); technological warfare (creating monopolies by setting standards independently); fabrication warfare (presenting a counterfeit appearance of real strength before the eyes of the enemy); resources warfare (grabbing riches by plundering stores of resources); economic aid warfare (bestowing favor in the open and contriving to control matters in secret); cultural warfare (leading cultural trends along in order to assimilate those with different views); and international law warfare (seizing the earliest opportunity to set up regulations), etc.” (https://indianarrative.com/opinion/circumstantial-evidence-suggests-china-is-culpable-422.html).

Zhenhua should be seen not as a business enterprise but a combat unit..