Michael Ledeen is a Shillman Fellow of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
Just how big is China? Plenty big. It’s big enough to hold more than a billion human beings, and it has managed to keep workers employed, and to encourage them to save nearly half their annual income. China’s performance in the 21st century is most impressive, with large official gains in imports and exports, and most significant numbers are up.
The problem is that China keeps inventing its numbers. For decades, regional and local administrations have lied to the federal government about their performance. This tactic enables regional governments to reduce the taxes they pay to Peking, and also to hide funds they pay overseas agents for espionage work.
Approximately every ten hours there’s a new case. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is studying the possibility of opening a new counter-intelligence center to increase the efficiency of their work against the Chinese. Experts who have studied Chinese data have concluded that it is systematically falsified, and a new counter-intelligence center would help sort it all out. Moreover, a new center would enable the American intelligence community to penetrate the network that provides China with its many sources of information.
In recent weeks, leading scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been indicted on charges of smuggling classified information from the United States to China. Professor Gang Chen was arrested in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and charged with wire fraud, lying on his federal income tax return and failing to report a foreign bank account. Prosecutors said he was acting out of loyalty to China, with whom he had collaborated at least since 2012 in a variety of ways, at the same time receiving 19 million dollars’ worth of assistance from unreported Chinese sources.
There are several such cases, many of which are as yet uncovered, and the FBI’s push for a new anti-Chinese counterintelligence center underlines the seriousness with which the government views the matter. And while they’re at it, the bureaucrats could fold several layers of manpower into their new center; Customs, for example, siezed 25,000 phony Viagra pills in Los Angeles ports last month, along with tens of thousands of pairs of counterfeit shoes, jewelry and the standard supply of electronics. And during the past year, roughly 51 per cent of anti-virus paraphernalia was sent from China.
Chinese spokespersons gave most of the credit to the United States, and called for Washington to open its laboratories at Fort Dietrich, Maryland. This is a replay of Soviet disinformation during the Cold War, and an attempt to suppress criticism of Chinese products. There is widespread refusal within China itself to take the domestic product, with significant numbers of people saying that Chinese leaders should be the first to take the drugs.
But this pushback against Chinese medicine is rarely reported in the Western press, which simply reports official statements critical of American products.
And so American mass media play the Chinese game.