"The Chinese government is engaged in a broad, diverse campaign of theft and malign influence, and it can execute that campaign with authoritarian efficiency. They’re calculating. They're persistent. They’re patient. And they’re not subject to the righteous constraints of an open, democratic society or the rule of law."
Christopher Wray, Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), has access to factual information and was spot on when he delivered these remarks during a video event 'China's Attempt to Influence US Institutions' organized by Washington-based think tank Hudson Institute, Tuesday.
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Wray majorly spoke about the threat posed by the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to the economic and national security of the United States. But each and every word he said was agreed upon by the experts all over the globe.
Never before had the FBI presented in an open forum such a detailed account of the Chinese threat.
"If you think these issues are just an intelligence issue, or a government problem, or a nuisance largely just for big corporations who can take care of themselves—you could not be more wrong. It's the people of the United States who are the victims of what amounts to Chinese theft on a scale so massive that it represents one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history. If you are an American adult, it is more likely than not that China has stolen your personal data… Our data isn’t the only thing at stake here—so are our health, our livelihoods, and our security," said Wray who spoke for almost one hour.
He mentioned in detail how Chinese President Xi Jinping has spearheaded a programme known as "Fox Hunt" which is a "sweeping bid" by the CCP General Secretary to target Chinese nationals whom he sees as threats and who live outside China, across the world, those political rivals, dissidents, and critics seeking to "expose" China's extensive human rights violations.
"Hundreds of the Fox Hunt victims that they target live right here in the United States, and many are American citizens or green card holders. The Chinese government wants to force them to return to China, and China's tactics to accomplish that are shocking. For example, when it couldn't locate one Fox Hunt target, the Chinese government sent an emissary to visit the target's family here in the United States. The message they said to pass on? The target had two options: return to China promptly, or commit suicide. And what happens when Fox Hunt targets refuse to return to China? In the past, their family members both here in the United States and in China have been threatened and coerced, and those back in China have even been arrested for leverage," explained Wray.
That most of the large Chinese businesses are state-owned enterprises owned by the government, and thus the CCP, is information FBI does not need to provide to other countries. It is also well known how companies, even those who aren't run by the CCP, have to, as per the Chinese laws, pass on entire data of its clients to the government.
"On top of that, Chinese companies of any real size are legally required to have Communist Party cells inside them to keep them in line. Our folks at the FBI are working their tails off every day to protect our nation's companies, our universities, our computer networks, and our ideas and innovation. To do that, we're using a broad set of techniques—from our traditional law enforcement authorities to our intelligence capabilities," he said.
With the US welcoming more than 100,000 Chinese students and researchers on its soil every year, the FBI boss made it clear that it is not about the Chinese people or the Chinese Americans.
"I mean the government of China and the Chinese Communist Party… It does not mean we shouldn't welcome Chinese students or coexist with China on the world stage. But it does mean that when China violates our criminal laws and international norms, we are not going to tolerate it," Wray made it clear.
In what promises to be a long-drawn battle, India is already aware of not just the military but also the counterintelligence and economic espionage threat posed by Xi leadership.
Hopefully, the words spoken by the world's most powerful law enforcement agency chief act as an eye-opener for those countries which still believe that China is doing a big favor to them with projects such as CPEC..